A social-ecological framework suggests that nutrition education programs designed to increase young children's fruit and vegetable consumption should address the influence of immediate and extended family. However, very few nutrition education programs recognize the importance of grandmothers in shaping preschool-aged children's consumption patterns. This study explored the impact of grandmothers on their grandchildren's fruit and vegetable consumption. Specifically, the authors addressed 3 research questions: (1) Are grandmothers involved in purchasing food for or feeding their preschool-aged grandchildren? (2) What resources do mothers and grandmothers have to purchase fruits and vegetables, and do these resources allow them to purchase a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables? (3) Do mothers and grandmothers consume fruits and vegetables and understand their importance? Using a sample of 62 low-income mothers and grandmothers from rural Maryland, the authors found evidence that grandmothers shaped their grand-children's fruit and vegetable consumption by purchasing and providing food for their daughters and grandchildren. However, grandmothers also reported consuming less than the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, which suggests they may negatively affect their grandchildren's fruit and vegetable consumption. Implications for future research and programming are discussed.
- fruit and vegetable consumption
- nutrition education
- preschool-aged children
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics