Family food involvement is related to healthier dietary intake in preschool-aged children

the STRONG Kids 1 Research Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children in the United States fall far short of meeting federal dietary recommendations. The unhealthy diets common amongst young children are of crucial public health concern, given that they can inhibit healthy development and are predictive of chronic diseases in adulthood. Research investigating behaviors that are related to dietary habits is crucial to allow a better understanding of the causes of unhealthy dietary practices. Involvement in food preparation is known to be associated with healthy dietary behaviors in school-aged children, but little is known about these behaviors and their correlates in younger children. The present study sought to examine the influences and correlates of involvement in family food preparation in children at ages three and four. Parents of preschool aged children (n = 497) completed surveys including information about demographic background, their children's family food involvement, dietary intake, mealtime routines, and problematic eating behaviors. Data were collected when children were three (wave one of the survey) and four years of age (wave two). Findings from this study indicate that family food involvement at age three is predictive of healthier dietary intake at age four (increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, decreased consumption of fast food). These findings indicate that family food involvement is predictive of healthier dietary behaviors in young children, and that outreach efforts focused on family food involvement in early childhood may improve children's dietary habits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Children
  • Cooking
  • Family food involvement
  • Food intake
  • Food preparation
  • Mealtime routines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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