Neighborhood socioeconomic status and feeding practices in Finnish preschools

Reetta LEHTO, Elviira LEHTO, Hanna KONTTINEN, Henna VEPSÄLÄINEN, Mari Anneli NISLIN, Kaija NISSINEN, Ciara VEPSÄLÄINEN, Leena KOIVUSILTA, Maijaliisa ERKKOLA, Eva ROOS, Carola RAY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aims: Certain feeding practices, such as role modeling healthy eating and encouragement are recommended to be used in preschools. Little is known about whether preschool characteristics are associated with the use of these feeding practices. Our aim was to examine whether the socioeconomic status (SES) of the preschool neighborhood is associated with the feeding practices in preschools. Methods: This study was part of the cross-sectional DAGIS study. We studied 66 municipal preschools and 378 early childhood educators (ECEs). Preschool neighborhood SES was assessed with map grid data. Feeding practices were assessed by questionnaires and lunchtime observation. Associations between preschool neighborhood SES and feeding practices were tested with logistic regression analyses adjusted for ECEs' educational level and municipal policies on ECEs' lunch prices, and on birthday foods. Results: The crude model showed that in high-SES neighborhood preschools ECEs were more likely to eat the same lunch as the children (OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.42–4.24) and to reward children with other food for eating vegetables (OR 2.48, 95% CI 1.40–4.41). Furthermore, in high-SES preschools it was less likely that birthday foods outside of the normal menu were available on birthdays (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.12–0.71). In the adjusted model, rewarding with other food remained associated with preschool neighborhood SES (OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.12–4.07). Conclusions: After adjustments, preschool neighborhood SES was mostly unassociated with the feeding practices in preschools. Municipal policies may have a significant impact on feeding practices and ultimately on young children's food intake in Finland where most children attend municipal preschools. Copyright © 2019 Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-556
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume47
Issue number5
Early online dateFeb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2019

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Social Class
Lunch
Food
Eating
Social Adjustment
Finland
Reward
Vegetables
Cross-Sectional Studies
Logistic Models
Regression Analysis
Observation

Bibliographical note

Lehto, R., Lehto, E., Konttinen, H., Vepsäläinen, H., Nislin, M., Nissinen, K., . . . Ray, C. (2019). Neighborhood socioeconomic status and feeding practices in Finnish preschools. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1403494819832114

Keywords

  • Feeding practices
  • Preschool
  • Staff
  • Neighborhood socioeconomic status