Home Medizin Globale Skala zur Einstufung der Essgewohnheiten von Vorschulkindern vorgestellt

Globale Skala zur Einstufung der Essgewohnheiten von Vorschulkindern vorgestellt

von NFI Redaktion

Researchers at the Education University of Hong Kong, China, have developed a 43-point International Healthy Eating Report Card Scale (IHERCS) to assess the eating behaviors and family nutrition environment of preschool children from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.


Global scale to grade preschoolers' eating habits unveiled










Study: A tool for the international report on healthy eating for preschool children: an intercultural validation in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States. Image credit: Sharomka / Shutterstock

Background

Developing a regional or national report with a traditional assessment system is crucial for evaluating the prevalence of specific health-related behaviors in a particular region or country. It is considered an effective and valuable approach to raise public awareness about the importance of targeted health behaviors.

A recent report on healthy eating for preschool children was developed in Hong Kong, adopting the conceptual framework of an established report on physical activity. This report has been successfully used to assess the prevalence of healthy eating behaviors in preschool children in Hong Kong.

However, the widespread implementation of such region-specific reports may face potential challenges, as nutritional guidelines and recommendations vary depending on geographic and cultural settings.

To address this gap, researchers have developed a new International Healthy Eating Report Card for preschool children and the globally applicable assessment tool of IHERCS based on the guidelines and recommendations of global health authorities.

Development of Reports

The study population included 2,059 parent-child pairs from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States. Participating parents were asked to complete a questionnaire that included the IHERCS and other validated scales on children’s eating behaviors and family eating environment.

Demographic questions were included in the questionnaire to collect participants‘ personal data. The IHERCS comprised 43 items for assessing children’s eating behaviors and mealtime environment in the family.

For an alternative assessment of the frequency of specific eating behaviors in children, the established and widely used Behavioral Pediatrics Feeding Assessment Scale (BPFAS) was employed. Similarly, the Mealtime Observation Home (MOH) questionnaire was used for an alternative assessment of children’s involvement in specific structured family meal environments.

Key Observations

The results showed robust factor structures of the children’s eating behavior and household nutrition environment scales in IHERCS. The internal consistency was also acceptable.

Regarding measurement invariance across cultural contexts, the results indicate the establishment of full configuration invariance and metric invariance across the four cultural contexts. However, a full scalar invariance of the scales could not be achieved. Partial scalar invariance was found only on the family household food environments scale.

Significance

The study concludes that IHERCS is effective for a reliable, valid, and comprehensive assessment of children’s eating behaviors and family nutrition environment from different cultural backgrounds.

The lack of full scalar invariance of the tested scales might be due to cultural differences in the interpretation and evaluation of items related to children’s eating behaviors.

The children’s eating behavior scale in IHERCS is relatively shorter and simpler compared to other validated assessment instruments. This could potentially reduce participants‘ response burden and facilitate the implementation of IHERCS in large-scale studies.

As mentioned by the researchers, the study, due to its cross-sectional design, could not determine the temporal stability of children’s eating behavior and household nutrition environment over time. Additionally, the study could not demonstrate the predictive effectiveness of the scales on other behavioral or health outcomes over time.

The influence of social desirability and self-serving biases on the study results could not be ignored, as the study relied solely on parent-reported measurements of children’s eating behavior and family meal environment.

Future studies should incorporate independent raters, observational methods, and a review mediated by a nutritionist to obtain more precise insights.

Journal Reference:

  • Alison Wing Lam Wan. 2024. A tool for the international report on healthy eating for preschool children: an intercultural validation in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States. Frontiers in Nutrition. DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2024.1340007, Read Here

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