Parental nutrition knowledge and attitudes as predictors of 5-6 year old children’s healthy food knowledge

Dorota Michalina Zarnowiecki, Natalie Sinn, John Petkov, James Dollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Young children's knowledge about healthy food may influence the formation of their eating behaviours, and parents have a major influence on the development of children's knowledge in the early years. Design We investigated the extent to which parental nutrition knowledge and attitudes around food predicted young children's knowledge of healthy foods, controlling for other influences such as socio-economic status (SES) and parent education levels in a cross-sectional research design. Children were given a healthy food knowledge activity and parents completed questionnaires. Setting Twenty primary schools in Adelaide, Australia, stratified by SES. Subjects We recruited 192 children aged 5-6 years and their parents. Results Structural equation modelling showed that parent nutrition knowledge predicted children's nutrition knowledge (r = 0·30, P < 0·001) independently of attitudes, SES and education level. Conclusions Nutrition education for parents, targeted at low-SES areas at higher risk for obesity, may contribute to the development of healthy food knowledge in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1290
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Nutrition knowledge
  • Parents
  • Socio-economic status
  • Young children


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