FAMILY FOOD CHOICES MOTIVE AMONG MALAYSIAN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN’S PARENTS
Keywords:Parental influence, Nutritional status, Food choice motive, Preschool children
It is important to determine the factors influencing the family, specifically the parent's food choice motives (FFCMs). These factors are perceived to relate to the nutritional status, eating habits of the children and, subsequently, their future well-being. This study aimed to determine the FFCMs factors (including health concerns, natural content, sensory appeal, convenience, weight control, price, mood, and familiarity) of the parents who had preschool children in Selangor, Malaysia. A cross-sectional study was conducted among seventy-six pairs of mothers and children aged 4 to 6 years in six selected preschools in the Klang Valley, Selangor. A set of self-administered questionnaires measuring demographic data, dietary records, and FFCMs of the parents were answered by the mother, and anthropometric measurements of the children were then taken. The mean FFCMs score found that "health" (mean 3.5 ± 0.53) was reported as the most important factor in parents' ’food choices than the "familiarity" factor (mean 2.78 ± 0.67). Compared to the ethnic groups, both Chinese and Indians mostly chose "natural content”, compared to Malay parents who chose "health" (3.55 ± 0.50) as an important factor to consider when choosing food. In conclusion, this study showed that by determining the most important factors influencing a family’s food choices, it is likely to improve the nutritional status and well-being of children and their family members. Thus, this study proposed the utilization of FFCMs as an instrument to design and develop food- and nutrition-related interventions for further studies.
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