Methods: The purpose of this single-group pilot study, which used a pre-/post-test design, was to determine the preliminary effects of a parent-focused, skill-building intervention on parents’ knowledge of healthy nutrition for preschoolers, parents’ skill of providing age-appropriate food portions to their child, and the child’s dietary intake. The intervention provided to parents consisted of audiotaped and written information, and suggested activities using a special plate designed to facilitate appropriate provision of food portions for preschool children. The 45 participant parents were mothers, 23-53 years old (M = 34.6 years, SD = 6.4); their children were 4-6 years (M = 4.5 years, SD = 0.6). After completing formal consenting and pre-testing, parents were provided child nutrition information, skill-building recommendations, and portion-related activities.
Results: Paired samples t tests were conducted to examine the difference between macronutrients mothers served and children consumed at pre- and post-testing. The average total daily calories mothers served significantly decreased (t = 3.92, p = .00), as did the average total daily calories the children ate (t = 3.35, p = .00) and the average amounts of fat/saturated fat, protein, and carbohydrates pre- to post-test. Effect sizes for each macronutrient ranged from .10 to .60, with medium effects for the total daily calories and carbohydrates served and consumed. No significant difference was found between pre- (M = 14.8) and post-test (M = 15.3) scores for parents’ knowledge of healthy nutrition (t = -1.12, p = .26).
Conclusion: Results suggest that outcomes were most likely related to parents reducing the portions served rather than an increase in parents’ nutrition knowledge. Preliminary findings warrant a full-scale, randomized control investigation.
See more of: Research Sessions: Symposia