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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 2:547-53.

The relationship between snack intake and its availability of 4th-6th graders in Taiwan.

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  • 1Program of Nutritional Science and Education, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the snack intake and snack availability of elementary school children. Data analyzed were from 722 4th to 6th graders' food availability and food intake questionnaires collected in the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan Elementary School Children 2001-2002. The snacks commonly eaten were divided into two groups. Healthy snacks included dairy products, 100% fruit juice and fresh fruits. Unhealthy snacks included high fat/sugar snacks, cookies, candy, carbonated/sugared beverages and fast food. Structural equating modeling was used to test the models that describe the availability and intake of two snack groups. Results indicated that parents' intake and children's preference were major predictors of children intake of both healthy and unhealthy snacks. Other than that, the intake of unhealthy snacks was positively associated with "purchase by children themselves" but not the intake of healthy snacks, which was influenced predominantly by "present in home". The results support the perception that a positive family food environment is important for improving children's diet quality. To build a healthy family food environment, parents have to not only provide healthy snacks but also limit the unhealthy snacks in home. In addition to that, the role modeling of parents as eating healthy snacks instead of unhealthy snacks themselves may help children to develop similar behaviors.

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