What is the effect of nutrition education with parental involvement compared to no parental involvement on children’s dietary intake-related behaviors?
Limited and inconsistent evidence is available to assess the effects of involving parents in nutrition education on children’s (ages nine and older) dietary intake-related behaviors. Some evidence suggests that involving parents in a nutrition education intervention improves outcomes, while other evidence finds no added benefit of including parents. In children less than nine years of age, there is no evidence to assess the effects of nutrition education with parental involvement on dietary intake-related behaviors.
III - Limited
1. Studies need to be conducted where the effects of method (direct or indirect) and dose of family or parental involvement are investigated. Rationale: Based on this review, it is unclear whether the way in which parents are involved in nutrition education interventions affects outcomes. Therefore, more research is needed to better understand the best methods for involving parents, and what dose, or level of parental participation results in the best outcomes. 2. Conduct research to determine whether subject characteristics such as age and gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status affect outcomes from nutrition education delivered with a parental component. Rationale: The ages of subjects in the studies reviewed ranged from nine years to 18 years (nine out of ten studies were in nine- to 13-year-olds), with no studies identified in children less than nine years. It is possible that younger children may respond differently to parental involvement than older children. Therefore, more research is needed to assess the effects of nutrition education with parental involvement on dietary intake in children less than nine years of age, as well as in older adolescents (older than 13 years of age). Further, several of the studies reviewed report differential effects on dietary intake for girls and boys. However, these studies were not designed to specifically address the effects of gender and parental involvement, and additional research is needed to explore the role of gender in more depth. Finally, few studies determined whether other factors (e.g., race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and level of education) impacted study outcomes. Therefore, this information is needed.