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Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2012 Apr;59(4):277-87.

[Relationships of the stages of behavior change in dietary habits of the mothers of school-age children with the breakfast intake of the children and the health-associated behavior of the family].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Health and Nutrition, Faculty of Nursing and Nutrition, Kagoshima Immaculate Heart University.



We aimed to clarify the relationships of the different stages of behavior change in dietary habits followed by the mothers of school-age children with the actual breakfast intake of these children and the health-associated behavior of the family.


We carried out a questionnaire-based survey of 1949 children at 18 elementary schools and of 881 families with children attending seven elementary schools in Kagoshima prefecture. We were supplied with information about children's breakfast intake and content on the day they took the survey and information about mothers' breakfast intake and the stage of behavior change in dietary habits to which they belonged, for which five stages were defined using the stage-of-change model.


The collection rates were 83.3% and 83.1% among children and mothers respectively. Of the children, 83.1% ate breakfast every day, while 15.1% were not in the habit of having breakfast. Furthermore, 98.6% children had eaten breakfast on the day of the survey, but 15.1% had eaten only staple foods such as rice or bread; only 34.0% children combined staple foods, a main dish, and vegetables/fruits in their breakfast. Regarding dietary stage, 28.1% of the mothers belonged to the "maintenance" stage; 24.0%, the "action" stage; 6.9%, the "preparation" stage; 9.8%, the "contemplation" stage; and 5.7%, the "precontemplation" stage. Mothers belonging to the first two stages constituted the "action group," because they were already taking care of their dietary habits, and mothers belonging to the latter three stages constituted the "no-action group", because they were not taking care of their dietary habits. The mothers who could provide no answers to the question constituted the "no-answer group" (25.5%). A comparison of the three groups revealed that mothers belonging to the no-answer group had more children who went without breakfast than the action group (P = 0.000). The children of mothers belonging to the no-action group (P = 0.003) and the no-answer group (P = 0.036) were not in general eating vegetables/fruits in their breakfast, in contrast with the action group. Furthermore, in the case of families with mothers belonging to the no-action and no-answer groups, the families did not often talk about diet, and the incidence of smokers among the fathers was high.


In this study, the breakfast habits of children and the health behavior of families differed by stage of dietary behavior change to which the mother belonged.

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