Associations between parental food choice motives, health-promoting feeding practices, and infants’ fruit and vegetable intakes: the Food4toddlers study
Objective: This study aimed to assess the associations between parental food choice motives and infants’ fruit and vegetable intakes and to examine whether parental feeding practices mediated these associations.
Design: A total of 298 parents participated in the Norwegian Food4toddlers study. Before the child’s first birthday (mean age = 10.9 months), the parents completed an online baseline questionnaire. Five parental food choice motives were assessed: health, convenience, sensory appeal, price, and familiarity. Infants’ fruit and vegetable intakes and three health-promoting feeding practices were also assessed. For each food choice motive and its relation to fruit or vegetable intake, three single mediation models were conducted. Mediation effects were examined using MacKinnon’s product of coefficients procedure, and bootstrap confidence intervals (CIs) were used for inferential testing.
Results: Higher scores on the motive of health were positively associated with infants’ vegetable intake (τ = 0.394, P < 0.001). No other significant associations were found between food choice motives and fruit or vegetable intake. The feeding practice of shaping a healthy environment mediated the relationships between health motive and both fruit (αβ = 0.067, CI: 0.001–0.146) and vegetable (αβ = 0.105, CI: 0.042–0.186) intakes. The feeding practice of encouraging balance and variety mediated the relationships between health motive and vegetable (αβ = 0.085, CI: 0.030–0.150) intake and between sensory appeal motive and vegetable intake (αβ = 0.047, CI: 0.005–0.103).
Conclusion: High levels of parental health motive are associated with higher infant vegetable intake. Our study contributes to understand the structure of parental feeding behaviors that may have implication for nutrition interventions targeting parents.
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