Exploring feeding practices and food literacy in parents with young children from disadvantaged areas
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© 2021 The Authors. Published by MDPI Publishing.
Early childhood provides an opportunity to optimize growth and development and parents play a fundamental role in forming healthy eating habits in their children. A healthy diet im-proves quality of life and wellbeing and reduces the risk of chronic disease. The aim of this research was to explore parents’ experiences of feeding 0–5-year-old children and food literacy behaviors. This qualitative study employed a general inductive inquiry approach. Participants were recruited through community-based parenting organizations in disadvantaged areas. Eight focus groups were conducted with 67 parents (92.5% female) living in socially disadvantaged areas within met-ropolitan Perth of Western Australia. Ten themes emerged from the preliminary analysis and were aligned with domains of relatedness, autonomy, and competence within the self-determination the-ory. Themes included relatedness (1) feeding is emotional, (2) variations in routine and feeding structures, (3) external influences, autonomy (4) power struggles, (5) it must be quick and easy, (6) lack of strategies for feeding autonomy, competency (7) whatever works, (8) healthy is important but for some unattainable, (9) improvements in food literacy skills, and (10) conflicting information overload. This research informed the development of a food literacy program for parents. Parents faced many challenges when trying to provide healthy food. This research has shown parents would benefit from support to achieve healthy eating practices for their families.
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