Like parent, like child? : Dietary resemblance in families

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2018 Jul 03;15(1):62

Title: Like parent, like child? : Dietary resemblance in families
Author: Vepsäläinen, Henna; Nevalainen, Jaakko; Fogelholm, Mikael; Korkalo, Liisa; Roos, Eva; Ray, Carola; Erkkola, Maijaliisa
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date: 2018-07-03
Language: eng
Abstract: Abstract Background Studies investigating dietary resemblance between parents and their children have gained mixed results, and the resemblance seems to vary across nutrients, foods, dietary-assessment tools used, and parent-child pairs. We investigated parent-child dietary resemblance using a novel approach in applying statistical analysis, which allowed the comparison of ‘whole-diet’ between parents and their children. Additionally, we sought to establish whether sociodemographic factors or family meals were associated with dietary resemblance and whether parent-child dietary resemblance was dependent on the parent providing food consumption data on behalf of the child (father or mother, “the respondent”). Methods The DAGIS study investigated health behaviors among Finnish preschoolers using a cross-sectional design. One parent filled in a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) measuring the child’s food consumption outside preschool hours during the last week. In addition, we instructed both parents or legal guardians, should the child have two, to fill in a similar FFQ regarding their own food use. Parents also reported their educational level, the number of children living in the same household, and the number of family meals. As a measure of dietary resemblance between a parent and a child, we computed Spearman correlations ranging mostly from no resemblance (0) to complete resemblance (+ 1) between parent-child pairs over the ‘whole-diet’ (excluding preschool hours). These resemblance measures were further investigated using linear mixed models. Results We obtained 665 father-child and 798 mother-child resemblance measures. Mother-child resemblance was on average 0.57 and stronger than father-child resemblance (0.50, p < 0.0001), which was explained by a parent-respondent interaction: the diet of the child resembled more the diet of the parent who provided food consumption data for the child. In univariate models, father- and mother-reported number of family meals were positively associated with father-child and mother-child resemblances. Mother-reported number of family meals was positively associated with mother-child resemblance in a full model. Conclusions The diet of the child seems to resemble more the diet of the parent responsible for the reporting of food consumption. Studies should report who provided the food consumption data for the child and take this into account in analyses, since reporter-bias can influence the results.
Subject: Dietary similarity
Dietary concordance
Familial aggregation
Whole diet
Role modeling
Food environment
Social food environment
Multivariate similarity measure

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