ERIC Number: EJ1171179
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Using Family Backpacks as a Tool to Involve Families in Teaching Young Children about Healthy Eating
Hong, Jisoo; Bales, Diane W.; Wallinga, Charlotte R.
Early Childhood Education Journal, v46 n2 p209-221 Mar 2018
Children's obesity rates have increased substantially over the past several decades, due in part to unhealthy eating habits. About 75% of preschool-aged children consume fewer fruits and vegetables than recommended for health. Because children begin developing eating habits during early childhood, obesity prevention programs are increasingly targeting young children in early childhood education (ECE) settings and are involving their families in teaching about healthy eating. The purpose of this pilot study is to assess the effectiveness of a family involvement activity known as the family backpack in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among 4- and 5-year-old children and their parents through hands-on activities that encourage them to explore and discuss fruits and vegetables at home. Forty-two families (22 experimental, 20 control) participated in the study. Families received a family backpack from their child's ECE teacher and completed activities with their child at home during a specific week. Experimental-group backpacks contained a children's book and three activities to encourage parent-child discussion about fruits and vegetables; control-group backpacks contained an unrelated book and activities. Children's and parents' fruit and vegetable consumption and frequency of serving fruits and vegetables at home were assessed using parent self-report surveys before and after completing backpack activities. Parents in the experimental group, but not the control group, reported increases in their own and their children's fruit and vegetable consumption after completing family backpack activities. Family backpacks show promise as a tool for early childhood educators to help families reinforce and expand children's learning and encourage healthy eating habits at home.
Descriptors: Child Health, Teaching Methods, Obesity, Health Promotion, Preschool Children, Eating Habits, Prevention, Early Childhood Education, Family Involvement, Food, Experiential Learning, Experimental Groups, Control Groups, Comparative Analysis, Learning Activities, Parent Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A