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Title: Portion sizes and preschool children : an exploration of caregiver food portioning practices and downsizing solutions
Author: Reale, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 2610
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Preschool children are being served large portion sizes of energy dense snacks contributing to overconsumption of sugar and saturated fat. An obvious action would be for caregivers to remove energy dense foods from children's habitual diets. However, snacks are highly liked and pervasive in the food environment therefore it seems neither feasible nor appropriate to remove these items. Instead portion control methods may be more suitable. However, surprisingly little is known about UK caregivers portioning practices, especially with regards to snack foods. The overall aim of this thesis was to explore caregiver snack portioning practices and to investigate downsizing solutions for preschool children. Caregivers of preschool aged children (2- 4 years) were recruited from 38 toddler groups in Sheffield, and nationally using online advertisements. Studies 1-3 were exploratory and included a systematic review and meta-analysis. The meta-analysis results informed aspects of a home-based intervention, with feasibility and acceptability parameters (study 4). The qualitative components included semistructured interviews and a think-aloud task which were analysed thematically. Quantitative data, including food diaries, questionnaires and anthropometric measurements were analysed in SPSS and STATA using multiple inferential tests. This thesis revealed four key findings: 1) Caregiver's portion size decisions are dynamic, complex and multifaceted; 2) caregivers report that they lack confidence in identifying snack portion size recommendations for preschool children; 3) some caregivers are relatively good at downsizing snacks for preschool children and 4) snack reduction and replacement are feasible methods of portion control in the home environment. This thesis makes an original contribution to the existing knowledge on caregiver food portioning practices and lends support by identifying two feasible and acceptable portion control methods. Furthermore, the findings from this work may support the development of downsizing interventions and methods of communicating portion size recommendations for preschool children.
Supervisor: Caton, Samantha ; Akparibo, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available