Date of Conferral
Due to increased rates of childhood obesity since 2010, researchers have examined family environmental factors and family influences on children's consumption of healthy foods. While previous research has examined how factors such as food presentation and the food intake of other family members can predict a child's body mass index, there has been little research examining whether parent factors predict the amount of healthy foods children eat. This quantitative survey study examined whether certain parent factors, specifically parents' attitudes about food, parents' feeding styles, and parents' attachment styles, predicted the amount of fruits and vegetables children ate. Understanding the extent to which these factors predict children's actual consumption of healthy foods, rather than predicting their body mass index, will further inform the healthcare field about parents' role in their children's physical development. Family systems theory served as the theoretical foundation. Seventy-four parents of children ages 1 to 7 years completed an online survey containing items from the Caregiver Feeding Styles Questionnaire, the Relationship Structures Attachment Questionnaire, and the Parent Attitudes About Food Questionnaire. As well, they logged the amount of fruits and vegetables their child ate over a 1-week period. The results of the multiple regression analysis revealed an overall significance which suggested that the 3 parent factors together predicted the amount of fruits and vegetables that children ate; however, closer examination indicated that only parents' attachment style was a significant prediction of children's consumption of fruits and vegetables. The results of the study add to our understanding of the role that parents play in their children's eating habits and the influence of attachment on children's consumption of a nutrient-dense diet.