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Title: Caregiver experiences, attitudes and perceptions about feeding Swiss toddlers and preschool children
Author: Jacquier, Emma Frances
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 7346
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2016
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Objective: Poor dietary habits in the first years have been associated with overweight, obesity and health consequences in later life. Young children, particularly in the years before going to school, depend on their caregivers to make healthy food choices on their behalf. Little is known about caregiver experiences, attitudes and perceptions about the feeding of toddlers and preschool children (l-5y) in Switzerland. This research aims to provide, for the first time, an understanding of the lived experience of these caregivers from the French-speaking region of Switzerland. Methods: In-depth, in-home interviews (n=17) were conducted with 19 male and female caregivers (16 = female, 3 = male, age range = 20-46y, low to high income). The model, “Food Choice Process over the Life Course”, was used as a theoretical framework. The interviews explored experiences, attitudes and perceptions about the provision of foods and beverages to children (l-5y). Interview transcripts underwent a thematic analysis and key themes were developed from the data. Results: Two over-arching themes were identified: “Managing” and “Rules and Routines”. Rules about foods and beverages to be encouraged/limited were widespread, along with finishing, or not, the entire meal. Eating in-between meals was routine at 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock. Participants struggled to explain how they portioned foods but offered volume-estimates of beverages consumed. Participants also held specific beliefs about some beverages. Childhood memories and health-professional advice were given as common origins of rules and beliefs. Managing time and budget for food purchases determined the nature of foods and beverages bought, and the types of meals prepared. Home-cooked food was considered superior to ready-meals, and cooking skills helped to save time. There was good agreement between the findings of this study and the theoretical framework. Conclusions and Implications: Rules and routines helped to standardise feeding, minimise cognitive effort and encourage healthy eating behaviours. Snacking routines appeared linked to cultural classifications. Rules and routines provide an insight into the caregiver feeding-styles and practices in Switzerland. Cooking skills helped overcome time constraints, and appeared to encourage the preparation of vegetables. The opportunities for further research, and the education of Swiss caregivers, and healthcare professionals, are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available