Eating competence of Hispanic parents is associated with attitudes and behaviors that may mediate fruit and vegetable-related behaviors of 4th grade youth.J Nutr. 2012 Oct; 142(10):1903-9.JN
Parent self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and behaviors toward cooking and fruits and vegetables mediate children's eating. Eating competence, an intra-individual approach to food-related attitudes and behaviors, is associated with healthful outcomes but has not been studied as a moderator of parent food-related behaviors that mediate healthful eating in 4th grade children. Parents (n = 339; 78% Hispanic, 89% female) of 4th graders who participated in an impact study of the Cooking with Kids curriculum in Santa Fe, NM schools eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education completed the following surveys: Satter eating competence inventory for low-income (ecSI/LI) (16 items, Likert scale, possible score 0-48); modeling behaviors related to food preparation and fruits/vegetables (11 items, Likert scale, possible score 0-33); self-efficacy/outcome expectancies (SE/OE) (12 items, Likert scale, possible score 12-60); and availability of fruits/vegetables (20 items, possible score 0-20). Higher scores indicate more desired behaviors. The mean ecSI/LI score was 33.6 ± 8.5; 59% were eating competent, i.e., ecSI/LI ≥ 32. Eating-competent parents demonstrated more modeling (16.3 ± 5.0 vs. 14.0 ± 4.3; P < 0.001), greater SE/OE (53.7 ± 10.1 vs. 51.2 ± 8.5; P = 0.03), and greater in-home fruit/vegetable availability (12.7 ± 3.0 vs. 11.9 ± 3.2; P = 0.02). Two clusters of modeling behavior were defined: achievers and strivers. Modeling achievers (34.9 ± 6.9) were more eating competent (P < 0.001) than strivers (30.3 ± 8.9). Eating competence moderated parent food-related behaviors. Measuring eating competence may contribute to understanding parent behavior as a mediator in school-based nutrition interventions.