Design: The analysis was based on data from the cross-sectional baseline survey of a prospective cohort study. The effects of parental education on food consumption were explored using analysis of covariance and logistic regression. Setting Primary schools and pre-schools of selected regions in Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Spain. Subjects Participants (n 14 426) of the IDEFICS baseline cohort study aged 2 to 9 years.
Results: Parental education level affected the intake of obesity-related foods in children. Children in the low and medium parental education level groups had lower odds of more frequently eating low-sugar and low-fat foods (vegetables, fruits, pasta/noodles/rice and wholemeal bread) and higher odds of more frequently eating high-sugar and high-fat foods (fried potatoes, fruits with sugar and nuts, snacks/desserts and sugared beverages; P < 0·001). The largest odds ratio differences were found in the low category (reference category: high) for vegetables (OR = 0·56; 95 % CI 0·47, 0·65), fruits (OR = 0·56; 95 % CI 0·48, 0·65), fruits with sugar and nuts (OR = 2·23; 95 % CI 1·92, 2·59) and sugared beverages (OR = 2·01; 95 % CI 1·77, 2·37).
Conclusions: Low parental education level was associated with intakes of sugar-rich and fatty foods among children, while high parental education level was associated with intakes of low-sugar and low-fat foods. These findings should be taken into account in public health interventions, with more targeted policies aiming at an improvement of children's diet.
- Parental Education
- IDEFICS Study
- Food Consumption