Fruit, vegetable, and fibre intake among Finnish preschoolers in relation to preschool-level facilitators and barriers to healthy nutrition
Lehto, Reetta; Ray, Carola; Korkalo, Liisa; Vepsäläinen, Henna; Nissinen, Kaija; Koivusilta, Leena; Roos, Eva; Erkkola, Maijaliisa (2019)
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Preschool is a major factor affecting food consumption among young children in Finland, given that most preschoolers eat three meals a day in that setting. Thus, it is important to recognise the determinants of dietary intake at preschool. The aim of this study was to examine food-related factors at the preschool and manager level, and their association with the dietary intake of children in childcare. The study was a part of the cross-sectional DAGIS survey conducted in 2015 to 2016 in Finland. The managers of 58 preschools filled in a questionnaire related to food and nutrition at their preschools. Preschool personnel kept food records for the children (n = 585) on two preschool days. Multilevel linear and logistic regression analyses were conducted with age, gender, and municipality as covariates, preschool-level factors as independent variables, and children’s vegetable (g/day) and fruit (yes vs. no) consumption and fibre intake (g/MJ) as outcome variables. Having many written food policies in the preschool was associated with a higher intake of vegetables (p = 0.01) and fibre (p = 0.03) among the children. Having at least two out of three cooperation-related challenges with the catering service was associated with a higher intake of fibre (p = 0.03) and lower odds of eating fruit (p = 0.01). Factors that are relatively distal from meal situations may have an effect, and should be taken into account in the promotion of healthy eating at preschool, but more studies are needed.