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Appetite. 2014 Sep;80:23-7. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.026. Epub 2014 May 2.

Home food and activity assessment. Development and validation of an instrument for diverse families of young children.

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Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO, USA. Electronic address:
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.
Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO, USA.


The purpose of this study was to refine and psychometrically test an instrument measuring the home food and activity environment of geographically and economically diverse families of preschool aged children. Caregivers of preschool aged children (n = 83) completed a modified self-report questionnaire. Reliably trained researchers conducted independent observations on 25 randomly selected homes. Agreement statistics were conducted at the item level (154 total items) to determine reliability. Frequency counts were calculated to identify item availability. Results showed Kappa statistics were high (.67-1.00) between independent researchers but varied between researchers and parents resulting in 85 items achieving criterion validity (Kappa >.60). Analyses of reliable items revealed the presence in the home of a high frequency of unhealthy snack foods, high fat milk and low frequency of availability of fruits/vegetables and low fat milk. Fifty-two percent of the homes were arranged with a television in the preschool child's bedroom. Physical Activity devices also were found to have high frequency availability. Families reporting lower education reported higher levels of sugar sweetened beverages and less low-fat dairy (p < .05) compared with higher education families. Low-income families (<$27K per year) reported significantly fewer Physical Activity devices (p < .001) compared with higher income families. Hispanic families reported significantly higher numbers of Sedentary Devices (p < .05) compared with non-Hispanic families. There were no significant differences between demographic comparisons on available fruits/vegetables, meats, whole grains, and regular fat dairy. A modified home food and activity instrument was found to reliably identify foods and activity devices with geographically and economically diverse families.


Diversity; Home environment; Obesity; Preschool; Rural

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