The home environment is the first environment to shape childhood dietary habits and food preferences, hence greater understanding of home environmental factors associated with vegetable consumption among young children is needed.
The objective has been to examine questionnaire items developed to measure the sociocultural home environment of children focusing on vegetables and to assess the psychometric properties of the resulting factors. Further, to explore associations between the environmental factors and vegetable consumption among Norwegian 3–5 year olds.
Parents (n 633) were invited to participate and filled in a questionnaire assessing the child's vegetable intake and factors potentially influencing this, along with a 24-h recall of their child's fruit and vegetable intake. Children's fruit and vegetable intakes at two meals in one day in the kindergarten were observed by researchers.
Principal components analysis was used to examine items assessing the sociocultural home environment. Encouragement items resulted in factors labelled “reactive encouragement”, “child involvement” and “reward”. Modelling items resulted in the factors labelled “active role model” and “practical role model”. Items assessing negative parental attitudes resulted in the factor labelled “negative parental attitudes” and items assessing family pressure/demand resulted in the factor labelled “family demand”. The psychometric properties of the factors were for most satisfactory. Linear regression of the associations between vegetable intake and the factors showed, as expected, generally positive associations with “child involvement”, “practical role model” and “family demand”, and negative associations with “negative parental attitudes” and “reward”. Unexpectedly, “reactive encouragement” was negatively associated with vegetable consumption.
In conclusion, associations between sociocultural home environmental factors and children's vegetable consumption showed both expected and unexpected associations some of which differed by maternal education – pointing to a need for further comparable studies.
This item's license is: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International