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Head start parent education to promote positive parent-child feeding relationships Public Deposited

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  • Studies have shown that parental feeding practice has an impact on the child's dietary intake, food preference and weight status. Our study focused on teaching parents the division of responsibility in parent-child feeding relationship as well as benefits of eating meals together, since feeding practice takes place during the mealtime. This study was conducted with Head Start parents at Oregon State University's Child Development Center (Garfield School). Fifteen families participated in the nutrition education through home visits. Twelve home visits were conducted in English and three were conducted in Spanish. Parents were asked to answer a pre-survey at the beginning of in-home education conducted by the researcher and home visitors. Participants received a Happy Home Meal Kit which included a letter to the parent, a parent-child feeding handout, refrigerator chart, buttermilk biscuit mix and directions, a cookie cutter, two activities and two recipes. Two weeks after the home visit, a post-survey was conducted by phone. In addition, the child's 24-hour food intake record completed by parents, for Head Start, was analyzed. Twelve mothers and three fathers representing fifteen households participated in the study. Their ages ranged from 23-43, with a mean age of 30.7+ 4.0 years. Half of parents have some college education or a college degree while the other half only had high school or less education. Seventy-three percent of participants reported that the mother had the major responsibility for the feeding of Head Start child. Parent-child feeding knowledge test scores in pre-test (mean = 2.3+ 0.8 points out of 5 points) showed that parents were not aware of the role children play in the feeding relationship. The role of a child in the feeding relationship includes deciding how much a child should eat and whether or not a child should eat food that is served. This lack of awareness was confirmed in the results of the parental dietary feeding practice in presurvey. Parents reported that they never let their children decide how much or how little to eat. Even though the children were not hungry, two thirds of parents tried to get them to eat. After the nutrition education session, the results from the post-test showed that parents increased their scores on the parent-child feeding knowledge test (mean = 2.9 + 0.9 points.) A majority of parents were aware of the parent's role in the feeding relationship including deciding what, when, and where. In the post-test more parents reported that it was a child's role to decide how much to eat and whether or not to eat than in the pre-test. However, the results were not statistically significant. Therefore, we cannot conclude that parents increased the awareness of the parent-child feeding relationship after the nutrition intervention. Data from children's 24-hour food intake records showed that only one child consumed adequate servings for all five different food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid. The mean intake for each food group shows that the grain and vegetable groups are the two food groups that children tend to consume less than the required serving. One third of parents (33.3%) reported that they prepared the recipes in the kit. Almost half of participants (46.7%) made the biscuits with their children. Many (86.7%) parents reported that their Head Start children colored the flash cards, and 53.3% of them said that they used the flash cards to teach the children about the names of fruits and vegetables. Sixty-six percent of families reported playing the conversational activity with their children. Less than half of families (40.0%) reported their families always eat meals together at home; however, after our home education, more than half of the participants (53.3%) thought that the kit motivated their families to have a meal together. Overall, two thirds of the parents responded positively to our parental education program. Seven of them said the program helped parents, and three parents liked the topic of the parent-child feeding relationship. One family liked the idea of parent-child cooking together through making biscuits.
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