|dc.description.abstract||Previous research investigating the relationship between parents’ and children’s diets has focused on single foods or nutrients. Dietary patterns are a tool that allows the whole diet to be assessed, and is therefore a measure of diet quality. Two types of methods are commonly used to determine diet quality: empirical and theoretical. Empirical patterns are derived using statistical techniques, such as principal component analysis, whereas, theoretical patterns measure how closely people adhere to certain diets. The aim of this thesis is to determine if parent diet quality (theoretical) is associated with children’s dietary patterns (empirical), and if these relationships differ between boys and girls.
Food consumption, demographic and lifestyle information was collected from 338 children aged 9-11 and their parents. The children’s dietary intake was measured using a validated food frequency questionnaire. This information was then used in principal component analysis to derive dietary patterns. The parents completed a Dietary Habits Questionnaire to measure their dietary intake; this was then used to calculate diet quality using a Diet Quality Index. Regression models were used to examine associations.
Principal component analysis produced three children’s dietary patterns: ‘Treat Foods’, ‘Low Fibre Foods’ and ‘Basic Foods’. Boys had a significantly higher score for the ‘Treat Foods’ pattern compared to girls (mean difference=0.22, P=0.039). Parent diet quality was negatively associated with the children’s ‘Low Fibre Foods’ pattern (P<0.001). No associations were found between parent diet quality and the other children’s dietary patterns. Non-significant interaction terms showed that the relationship between parent diet quality and children’s dietary patterns were not different between boys and girls, and was unaffected by which parent completed the questionnaire.
These results indicate that boys have a more frequent intake of treat foods compared to girls, and that parent’s with a lower quality diet have children with a more frequent consumption of low fibre foods, such as white bread, sugary drinks, crisps and hot chips. ||