Improved Parental Dietary Quality Is Associated with Children's Dietary Intake Through the Home Environment
Published in: Obesity Science & Practice, Volume 3, Issue 1 March 2017. Pages 75-82. doi:10.1002/osp4.81
Posted on RAND.org on May 16, 2017
Improving access to supermarkets has been shown to improve some dietary outcomes, yet there is little evidence for such effects on children. Relatedly, there is a dearth of research assessing the impact of a structural change (i.e. supermarket in a former food desert) on the home environment and its relationship with children's diet.
Assess the relative impact of the home environment on children's diet after the introduction of a new supermarket in a food desert.
Among a randomly selected cohort of households living in a food desert, parental diet was assessed before and after the opening of a full-service supermarket. The home environment and children's intake of fruits and vegetables was measured at one point — after the store's opening. Structural equation models were used to estimate the pathways between changes in parental dietary quality at follow-up and children's dietary intake through the home environment.
Parental dietary improvement after the supermarket opened was associated with having a better home environment ([Beta] = 0.45, p = 0.001) and with healthier children's dietary intake ([Beta] = 0.46, p<0.001) through higher family nutrition and physical activity scores ([Beta] = 0.25, p = 0.02).
Policy solutions designed to improve diet among low-resource communities should take into account the importance of the home environment.