Development of a telephone questionnaire to assess parents' awareness, knowledge, beliefs and application of dietary fat recommendations for preschool children

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Milton, Holly Joy
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Health Canada recommends that the diet of young children should not be restricted in fat, however it advises adult Canadians to restrict fat to no more than 30% of energy. The objective of this study was to develop a telephone questionnaire to measure parents' awareness and understanding of dietary fat recommendations for children and their use of practices to lower fat when feeding their children. The three-step process used to develop the questionnaire included collecting qualitative data through focus group discussions (n = 14), review by a panel of nutrition experts (n = 12), and pretesting on a random sample of Manitoba parents of two to three year old preschoolers (n = 68) obtained from the Manitoba Health Administrative Database. Focus group findings showed that, in general, parents have low levels of awareness and understanding of fat recommendations, however, they express beliefs about the importance of fat for children. The focus groups also revealed that some parents were not concerned about the fat in their child's diet because their child already consumed a healthy diet that is lower in fat. Based on these findings, a telephone questionnaire was developed to determine parents' awareness, knowledge, beliefs, and level of and reasons for concern about fat. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)