Home food availability mediates associations between mothers' nutrition knowledge and child diet

Appetite. 2013 Dec;71:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.006. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Evidence suggests that mothers' nutrition knowledge and home food availability (HFA) are directly and independently associated with children's food intakes. In this study we test the hypothesis that HFA mediates the association between maternal nutrition knowledge and child diet. In this cross-sectional study of Australian women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Melbourne, Australia, mothers with dependent children (aged 5-12 years) provided data on their child's diet, HFA, nutrition knowledge and a range of sociodemographic characteristics. To test our hypothesis we assessed associations between nutrition knowledge and HFA, and between HFA and child food intake (adjusting for nutrition knowledge and child age). In all instances significant associations were found. HFA was found to mediate relationships between mother's nutrition knowledge and children's intake of fruit, vegetables, salty foods and soft drink. Our analyses showed that HFA was a mediator of the associations between maternal nutrition knowledge and child's diet in this population. This supports a focus on nutrition education that expands mothers' understanding of what foods to buy, prepare and serve. Further exploration of these associations will provide a stronger evidence base upon which to inform 'best bets' for parent-focussed nutrition promotion seeking to promote children's healthy eating.

Keywords: Child diet; Home food availability; Maternal; Nutrition knowledge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors