Parents are accurate reporters of their preschoolers' fruit and vegetable consumption under limited conditions

Cynthia Linneman, Kimberly Hessler, Susie Nanney, Karen Steger-May, An Huynh, Debra Haire-Joshu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the accuracy of parents as reporters of both their own and their 2- to 5-year-old children's fruit and vegetable intake. Design: Observational study with a 1-meal intake assessment by an independent observer, followed by a telephone survey to determine the previous day's consumption using a 29-item fruit, juice, and vegetable food frequency questionnaire. Setting: Two separate meal assessments in community-based settings. Participants: A convenience sample of 61 parent-child dyads from Eastern Missouri was recruited from a school health fair and the Parents as Teachers program. The mean age of the parents was 31.1 years, and 91% were female. The mean age for children was 39.0 months, and 60% were female. Variables Measured: Parent and child fruit and vegetable intake. Analysis: Interobserver agreement using a kappa statistic. Results: Parents accurately reported their children's intake on most fruits and vegetables (kappa = 0.59-0.61). Parents were the least accurate in recalling the consumption of raisins from oatmeal cookies (kappa = 0.05) and 100% juice (kappa = 0.17). Conclusions and Implications: Parents can serve as accurate proxies to report fruit and vegetable consumption by their preschoolers on a food frequency questionnaire used to determine intake for the previous day. This can be a helpful evaluation method for research involving young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-308
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by National Cancer Institute grant 5 R01 CA068398-OR, Altering Dietary Patterns in Preschool Children. Address for correwondence: h i e Nannev. PhD. MS. MPH. RD. 3545 Lafavette Avenue, St. Louis, M O 63104; Tel: (800) 395-7838; Fax: (314) 977-1658; E-mail: 02004 SOCIETY FOR NUTRITION EDUCATION


  • Dietary assessment
  • Parent proxy
  • Preschool children


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