© Borgis - New Medicine 1/2009, s. 7-12
*Wojciech Chalcarz, Sylwia Merkiel, Zdzisława Hodyr
FOOD BEHAVIOUR IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN FROM PABIANICE
Food and Nutrition Department of the Eugeniusz Piasecki
University School of Physical Education in Poznan
Head of the Department: Dr hab. Wojciech Chalcarz, prof. nadzw. AWF
Aim.The aim of this study was to assess food behaviour in preschool children who attended preschools in Pabianice.
Material and methods. The study was carried out in 191 children aged 5 and 6 years, including 79 girls and 112 boys, who attended preschools in Pabianice. The assessment of food behaviour included: number of meals eaten at home, regularity of having these meals, frequency of eating selected foodstuffs, preparing meals at home for the children, children´s taste preferences, as well as parents´ opinion about the adequacy of their children´s food intake at home and about their own knowledge on nutrition in children. Statistical analysis was carried out by means of the SPSS 12.0 PL for Windows computer program. The studied population was divided according to gender.
Results. Gender had a statistically significant impact on eating between the main meals, frequency of eating wholemeal bread, fruit, and milk and dairy products, bitter taste preferences, salty taste preferences, and taking into account parents´ food preferences when preparing meals for their children.
Conclusions. The most common nutritional mistakes in the studied population of preschool children was eating until the feeling of satiety, eating vegetables and fruit too seldom, as well as eating meat and its equivalents, and sweets too frequently. To avoid these mistakes, parents should be educated on nutrition in preschool children.
Adequate nutrition in preschool age is of vital importance due to rapid psychomotor development of the child and establishment of food habits [1, 2]. Proper nutrition along with physical activity during childhood is essential for life-long health and prevents diet-related diseases, especially overweight and obesity , cardiovascular diseases [4, 5], type 2 diabetes  and hypertension .
Monitoring preschool children´s food intake and food behaviour is even more important if we take into account the scarce Polish research in this field recently, aimed at assessment of either dietary intake in preschool [8, 9, 10] or food behaviour in general [11, 12, 13]. There are no studies focused on food behaviour in preschool children during their stay at home.
The aim of this study was to assess food behaviour in preschool children who attended preschools in Pabianice.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Questionnaires on children´s food behaviour were filled in by parents of 191 children aged 5 and 6 years, including 79 girls and 112 boys, who attended preschools in Pabianice. General information about the children and their families and about health status of the children and their families, as well as parents´ opinions about their children´s body weight and health status, was presented in our previous article . The assessment of food behaviour included: number of meals eaten at home, regularity of having these meals, frequency of eating selected foodstuffs, preparing meals at home for the children, children´s taste preferences, and parents´ opinion about the adequacy of their children´s food intake at home and about their own knowledge on nutrition in children.
The research was approved by the Bioethics Committee of the Poznan University of Medical Sciences.
Statistical analysis was carried out by means of the SPSS 12.0 PL for Windows computer program. The studied population was divided according to gender.
Table 1 shows parents´ answers to the questions about their children concerning number of meals eaten, the longest interval between meals, eating until the feeling of satiety, eating between the main meals and regularity of having meals at home, according to gender. Gender had a statistically significant impact on eating between the main meals. More boys than girls, 91.1% vs 79.7%, ate between the main meals.
Table 1. Number of meals, the longest interval between meals, eating until the feeling of satiety, eating between the main meals and regularity of eating meals [%].
|1.||Number of meals||≤ 3 meals||10.3||4.6|
|2.||The longest interval between meals||≤ 4 hours||88.5||94.6|
|3.||Eating until the feeling of satiety||89.7||86.6|
|4.||Eating between the main meals||79.7||91.1|
|5.||Having breakfast regularly||94.9||97.3|
|6.||Having lunch regularly||59.5||62.5|
|7.||Having dinner regularly||97.5||96.4|
|8.||Having tea regularly||81.0||86.6|
|9.||Having supper regularly||98.7||98.2|
Bold type denotes statistically significant results (p=0.05).
Table 2 presents parents´ answers to the questions about their children concerning frequency of eating selected foodstuffs, according to gender. Gender had a statistically significant impact on frequency of eating wholemeal bread, fruit, and milk and dairy products. All these foodstuffs were consumed more frequently by girls.
Table 2. Frequency of eating selected foodstuffs [%].
|Once a day||30.3||24.0|
|Twice a day||13.2||6.5|
|Three times a day||3.9||1.9|
|Four times a day||1.3||0.0|
|Once a day||63.5||58.9|
|Twice a day||25.7||28.1|
|Three times a day||2.7||2.8|
|Five times a day||0.0||0.9|
|Once a day||19.7||26.7|
|Twice a day||43.5||50.0|
|Three times a day||31.6||17.0|
|Four times a day||2.6||4.5|
|Five times a day||2.6||0.9|
|4.||Milk and dairy products||Never||1.3||2.8|
|Once a day||19.7||33.0|
|Twice a day||51.3||43.1|
|Three times a day||26.4||19.3|
|Four times a day||1.3||0.9|
|Five times a day||0.0||0.9|
|5.||Meat and meat products||Never||3.9||1.8|
|Once a day||40.3||30.3|
|Twice a day||40.3||51.4|
|Three times a day||15.5||16.5|
|Once a day||68.1||69.3|
|Twice a day||12.4||9.9|
|Three times a day||1.4||1.0|
|Once a day||55.6||51.5|
|Twice a day||6.9||3.0|
|Once a day||74.7||62.2|
|Twice a day||4.0||5.8|
|Once a day||44.7||42.5|
|Twice a day||32.9||31.1|
|Three times a day||17.2||13.2|
|Four times a day||3.9||5.7|
|Six or more times a day||0.0||0.9|
Bold type denotes statistically significant results (p=0.05).
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