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Piloting a food photo sorting activity in Samoa to assess maternal beliefs and their role in child diet.


ABSTRACT: Eating habits begin forming early in life when parental beliefs and behaviours often play a major role in shaping dietary intake. We aimed to assess maternal beliefs about the cost, social status, and nutritional value of foods in Samoa-a setting with an alarming burden of childhood obesity-and to determine how those beliefs may be related to child dietary intake. Samoan mothers (n = 44) sorted photographs of 26 foods commonly consumed in children in Samoa by cost, social status, and nutritional value (healthfulness). Responses were then assessed for their association with child dietary intake (reported using a food frequency questionnaire) using Pearson correlations. Mothers indicated that traditional Samoan foods were healthier, of higher social status, and lower cost compared with non-traditional/imported food items. Compared with nutritional experts and a market survey of food prices, mothers demonstrated strong nutritional (r = .87, 95% CI [0.68, 0.95], p < .001) and consumer (r = .84, 95% CI [0.68, 0.93], p < .001) knowledge. The perceived cost of food was more strongly associated (r = -.37, 95% CI [-0.66, 0.02], p = .06) with child dietary intake than either healthfulness or social status, with decreasing consumption reported with increasing food cost. Our findings contradicted the notion that the high social status of imported foods may be contributing to increased intake and rising prevalence of childhood obesity in this developing country setting. Despite their nutritional knowledge, Samoan mothers may need additional support in applying their knowledge/beliefs to provide a healthy child diet, including support for access to reasonably priced healthy foods.

SUBMITTER: Tanawattanacharoen VK 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7296816 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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