Published: August 2021

ID #: 74134

Journal: Nutrients

Authors: McIver MB, Colby S, Hansen-Petrik M, Anderson Steeves ET

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The Appalachian region of the U.S. is disproportionately impacted by poverty, obesity, and nutrition-related chronic diseases. Evidence suggests that caregiver feeding practices may promote healthful eating behaviors among children; however, this has not been examined in low-income, rural, Appalachian populations. This study examines caregiver feeding practices as predictors for child diet in low-income Appalachian families, using a cross-sectional analysis of 178 caregivers of young children (ages 2–10 years old), that were recruited from low-income, rural communities in East Tennessee, from November 2017 to June 2018. In this study, higher use of caregiver modeling positively predicted child vegetable consumption. Higher caregiver intake of fruits and vegetables positively predicted child fruit consumption and vegetable consumption. Higher home availability of healthier foods positively predicted child fruit consumption and vegetable consumption. Higher home availability of less healthy foods positively predicted child consumption of high-sugar/high-fat snack foods. The findings of this study indicate that caregiver modeling, healthy caregiver dietary intake, and healthful home food availability are associated with healthier child dietary intake among young children in low-income, rural, Appalachian areas. Promoting these practices among caregivers may be an important strategy to enhancing dietary intake of children in this hard-to-reach, underserved population.

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