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Health Educ Res. 2000 Oct;15(5):581-90.

Social-environmental influences on children's diets: results from focus groups with African-, Euro- and Mexican-American children and their parents.

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Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Children's fruit, juice and vegetable (FJV) and fat intakes do not meet recommended guidelines. Since personal factors account for only a small percentage of the variability in children's FJV consumption, social and environmental influences were explored via focus group discussions with Grade 4-6 African-, Euro- and Mexican-American students and parents. Questions included the effects of social influences, availability and accessibility on children's FJV and low-fat food choices. Few ethnic differences were noted. A variety of low-fat items and fresh FJV (not cut-up) were available at home; older children were expected to prepare their own. Eating out occurred at least twice a week; FJV were not usual restaurant choices. Students reported some modeling by parents (more mothers) and friends (usually at lunch). Negative peer responses for eating vegetables were reported. Parents were concerned with children eating too much junk food and not enough FJV, recognized the outside influences their children received about food, and reported several methods to encourage children to eat FJV. Recommendations for future interventions are proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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