Mother's perception of general family functioning and sugar consumption of 3- and 4-year-old children: the East London Family study

Sucharita Nanjappa, Mark Hector, Wagner Marcenes (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Frequent consumption of sugary foods is a common risk factor for chronic diseases such as dental caries and obesity. Dietary patterns are acquired at home during early life and form a blueprint for dietary behaviours in later life. A favourable family environment can provide a supportive context that enhances the adoption of healthy dietary habits. The aim of this study was to identify the contribution of general family functioning towards the frequent consumption of sugary foods by 3- and 4-year-old children in Outer North East London. The research question was explored with data from the East London Family study, which collected data through home visits from a representative sample of adults and children living in Outer North East London in 2008-2010. This study analysed data from 3- and 4-year-old children (n = 698) and their mothers and included logistic regression, conceptual hierarchical modelling and mediation analysis. The results showed that 17% of the sample consumed sugary foods more than 4 times per day, and that effective general family functioning may help reducing frequent consumption of sugary foods. There was a 67% reduction in children's frequent consumption of sugary foods with every unit increase in the general family functioning score. Mother's higher education may also help reduce the frequent consumption of sugary foods by children. The negative impact of mother's lower education was buffered by the effect of effective general family functioning. The study findings underscore the prospect of identifying factors that contribute to the acquisition of good dietary behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalCaries Research
Volume49
Issue number5
Early online date21 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Family functioning
  • Family influences
  • Frequent sugar consumption
  • Health behaviour

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