Family food environment and child eating behavior in a private school of Abu Dhabi.

Sara Al Amoodi


Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise, Vol. 1, No. 1 Published on 7th April 2016 Abstract: Aim: Dietary habits developed during childhood and continued through adulthood. Children's eating behaviours should be monitorining to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies which have been found to be strongly related to the development of future disease such as obesity, diabetes type 2 and others. The main aim of this study is to explore the relationship between family food environment and the eating behavior during dinnertime among children aged 4 to 6 years old in Abu Dhabi. A cross-sectional study was carried out that examined the relationship between family food environment and child's eating behaviour around dinnertime. Methods: 61 families participated in the study with their children aged 4-6 years old from a private school. They completed a questionnaire that included questions about demographics, eating behaviour and food environment. Results: 82% of the mothers were reported to be responsible for feeding the children. Most of the families had dinner together three or more times a week. Half of the children got a high score in the child's eating behaviour scale, indicating that they had positive eating behaviour. The results also showed that children of highly educated mothers were more likely to have positive eating behaviour, compared to children of mothers with lower education (p < .05). There was a significant positive correlation between modelling of eating and child eating behaviour ( Pearson's r = .56, p < .01), and a significant negative correlation between pressure to eat and child eating behaviour (Pearson's r = -.35, p < .01). Conclusion: This study is in line with other studies showing that aspects in the family food environment have an influence on eating behaviour of children. Educating parents on food environment and its impact on child behaviour is crucial in order to make them able to develop feeding strategies most likely to benefit children's' health.