Family Meal- and Related-Practices in Families of Preschoolers: Differences by Family Income


The present study asked parents of preschool-aged children from differing socioeconomic groups to complete a questionnaire regarding the frequency of specific behaviors that comprise the food environment. Participants were 94 mothers of preschool-age children who attended either Day Care (middle-income) or Head Start (low-income) programs. Many of the items tested showed similar characteristics for the food environment between the Head Start and Day Care centers, including the frequency that children were involved in meal preparation, the frequency that children were encouraged to finish the food on their plate, the frequency that a parent ate a meal at the table with the child, and the frequency of opportunities to try foods that the parents disliked themselves. Relative to the Head Start children, however, children attending Day Care were more restricted from eating desserts and salty snacks, more encouraged to try new foods, and more often consumed breakfast. Aside from characteristics of the food environment, children in Day Care spent more minutes in outdoor play and slept nearly an hour more each night, while those who attended Head Start spent more time watching television and playing video games. It is recommended that families make a better effort to create an optimal food environment for their children.

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Nowlin, E. , Worobey, J. and Worobey, H. (2015) Family Meal- and Related-Practices in Families of Preschoolers: Differences by Family Income. Creative Education, 6, 540-547. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.65054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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