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Agreement between child and parent reports of 10‐ to 12‐year‐old children’s meal pattern and intake of snack foods

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Background:  Dietary assessment in children is associated with misreporting, which is a problem with both child and parent reports. Therefore, it is of interest to study how children and parents report children’s eating, respectively, although comparative studies are rare. The aim of the present article was to study the meal patterns and intake of certain snack foods of 10‐ to 12‐year‐old children as reported by the children and their parents, respectively, and to determine whether there was agreement between the child and parent reports. An additional aim was to study what factors might influence rater agreement.

Methods:  School children aged 10–12 years and their parents were given parallel questionnaires regarding the children’s meal pattern. Matched pairs (n = 147) were analysed for agreement. Descriptive statistics were used to study all variables. Rater agreement and whether agreement depends on the age and the sex of the child, the sex of the parent and household type were analysed using ordinal regression models. Correlations between the child and parent assessments were estimated as polychoric correlations.

Results:  There was a general agreement between child and parent reports, except with respect to sweets and chocolate, where children reported less frequent consumption than the parents did (P = 0.0001). The sex of the child was a significant factor regarding consumption of in‐between meals (P = 0.0001) and soft drinks (P = 0.01). Most children had breakfast, school lunch and dinner every day, whereas it was less common to report daily consumption of in‐between meals.

Conclusions:  There was a general agreement between children’s and parents’ reports, and most children were reported to have a regular meal pattern.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 2: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 01 February 2012

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