Parents Perception of Portion Sizes for their Children and the Factors that Influence those Perceptions; A Quantitative Questionnaire in Torfaen
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Background: The World Health Organisation (WHO) declare childhood obesity a public health concern. Evidence suggests children consume the amount they are served, regardless of size, therefore highlighting the importance of parental awareness of age appropriate portion sizes. Method: 55 parents of 1-11 year olds chose portion sizes for themselves and their children and completed a questionnaire. Excel and SPSS was used to analyse and compare the variables. Results: Zero parents chose the correct portion for themselves and 94.54% (n=52) chose above the recommendations. This accumulated to 82% of their daily free sugar intake. For children: 50.90% (n=28) chose below, 34.54% (n=19) chose above and 14.54% (n=8) chose correct recommended portion size. On average this accumulated to 75.14% of the child’s daily free sugar intake. . 42.30% (n=11) of females chose larger portions compared to 25% (n=7) of males. 66.66% (n=4) of parents who were separated/divorced chose the correct portion size. 52.08% (n=25) of parents who were educated at level 3 or above chose portion sizes below. 66.66% (n=2) of parents who chose smaller portions for themselves chose smaller portions for their children. 36% (n=20) of parents rated child’s age as the most important factor when choosing portion sizes Conclusion: On average parents chose bigger portions than the recommendations for themselves and their children. Childs age was rated the most influencing factor by parents.
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