Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Family correlates of fruit and vegetable consumption in children and adolescents: a systematic review

Natalie Pearsona1 c1, Stuart JH Biddlea1 and Trish Gorelya1

a1 School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract

Objectives To review associations between the family environment and young people’s fruit and vegetable consumption.

Design A systematic review. Published English-language (n 60) papers were identified using electronic databases and manual searches of personal files and reference lists. Observational research reporting a measure of fruit/vegetable intake for children (aged 6–11 years) and/or adolescents (aged 12–18 years) and at least one potential family correlate of dietary intake was included.

Results Parental modelling and parental intake were consistently and positively associated with children’s fruit and fruit, juice and vegetable (FJV) consumption. There were also positive associations between home availability, family rules and parental encouragement and children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Parental intake was positively associated with adolescents’ fruit and vegetable consumption. There were also positive associations between parental occupational status and adolescent fruit consumption and between parental education and adolescents’ FJV consumption.

Conclusions Our findings highlight the importance of targeting the family environment for the promotion of healthy eating behaviours among children and adolescents. Future interventions should encourage parents to be positive role models by targeting parental intake and to create a supportive home environment through increased encouragement and availability of fruits and vegetables and employing rules to govern eating behaviours. For adolescents, indicators of family circumstances (e.g. parental education) should be used to identify target groups for interventions aimed at promoting healthy eating.

(Received August 22 2007)

(Accepted April 16 2008)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email N.Pearson@lboro.ac.uk

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