Parental role modelling and the food environment
The DAGIS study investigated health behaviors and associated factors in Finnish preschool children. The study aimed to produce new information on how to modify preschool environments to promote the health of both children and adults. The food environment – circumstances and opportunities associated with food behavior and food choices – affects the development of healthy food habits and preferences among young children. The food environment is especially important for children as they cannot be considered to be fully responsible for their food choices. Food behaviors learned during childhood may also track into adulthood, and thus, promoting healthy food habits early in life is of special importance.
The home, preschool and school are the most prominent food environments for children. It has been shown that parental food consumption is associated with dietary behavior among children in studies investigating parent-child dietary resemblance. Food availability at home, preschool or school has mostly been measured unidimensionally: as the availability of a single food group or as healthy/unhealthy food availability.