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Individual and Family Correlates of Calcium-Rich Food Intake among Parents of Early Adolescent Children



      Most adults do not meet calcium intake recommendations. Little is known about how individual and family factors, including parenting practices that influence early adolescents' intake of calcium-rich foods, affect calcium intake of parents. This information could inform the development of effective nutrition education programs.


      To identify individual and family factors associated with intake of calcium-rich foods among parents of early adolescents (aged 10 to 13 years).


      A cross-sectional survey was used with 14 scales to assess attitudes/preferences and parenting practices regarding calcium-rich foods and a calcium-specific food frequency questionnaire (2006-2007).


      A convenience sample of self-reporting non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, and Asian (n=661) parents was recruited in nine states. Parents were the primary meal planner/preparer and completed questionnaires in homes or community settings.

      Main outcome measures

      Predictors of calcium intake from three food groupings—all food sources, dairy foods, and milk.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Multivariate regression analyses identified demographic, attitude/preference, and behavioral factors associated with calcium intake.


      Most respondents were women (∼90%) and 38% had a college degree. Education was positively associated with calcium intake from all three food groupings, whereas having an Asian spouse compared to a non-Hispanic white spouse was negatively associated with calcium intake only from all food sources and from dairy foods. Expectations for and encouragement of healthy beverage intake for early adolescents were positively associated with calcium intake from dairy foods and milk, respectively. Parental concern regarding adequacy of intake was negatively associated, whereas perception of health benefits from calcium-rich foods was positively associated with calcium intake from all food sources and from dairy foods. Between 20% and 32% of the variance in calcium intake from all food groupings was explained in these models.


      Individual factors and positive parenting practices may be important considerations for nutrition education programs targeted to parents.
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      M. Reicks is a professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St Paul.


      M. E. Ballejos is an associate professor, Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Puyallup.


      L. S. Goodell is an assistant professor, Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.


      C. Gunther is director of research and an adjunct assistant professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Ohio State University, Columbus.


      R. Richards is an assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.


      S. S. Wong is an assistant professor and extension nutrition specialist, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences, Utah State University, Logan.


      G. Auld is a professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Fort Collins, CO.


      C. J. Boushey is an associate professor, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.


      C. Bruhn is a consumer food marketing specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis.


      M. Cluskey is an associate professor, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis.


      S. Misner is an associate nutrition specialist and state Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education coordinator, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson.


      B. Olson is an associate professor and extension specialist, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing.


      S. Zaghloul is a senior research scientist and affiliate professor, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Safat, Kuwait; at the time of the study, she was an associate professor, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.