Abstract| Volume 50, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S54-S55, July 2018

Barriers and Facilitators to Implementing Parent Strategies to Improve Vegetable Intake Among Low-Income Children

      Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): Vegetable intake among children is below recommendations despite positive benefits. Addressing parental barriers and facilitators to implementation of behavioral strategies to increase child vegetable intake may help increase frequency of use.
      Objective: To qualitatively assess barriers and facilitators for low-income parents to implement behavioral strategies to increase child vegetable intake at meals consumed at home.
      Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: Parent-child dyads (n = 44) participated in six weekly adapted Cooking Matters for Families sessions at community centers throughout the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. Most participants were women 30–39 years, racially/ethnically diverse (40% Hispanic, 27% African American), and had low/very low food security. After meal preparation and nutrition education segments, a behavioral strategy was introduced to parents (1/week). Parents discussed how each strategy could be used at home and how the previous week's strategy was implemented. Discussion questions focused on barriers and facilitators to using the strategy.
      Outcome Measures and Analysis: The discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. A codebook was developed and used to code transcripts via NVivo software. Inductive thematic analysis was applied to identify barriers and facilitators to using strategies.
      Results: Potential for food waste was a barrier to using a bigger spoon to serve vegetables, using a MyPlate to indicate an adequate amount of vegetables, and serving two vegetables. Time was a barrier when extra steps were required, such as serving vegetables first or serving two vegetables; however, saving time was a facilitator for having the child help prepare vegetables. Child vegetable liking was identified as a barrier or facilitator for most strategies. Other barriers and facilitators included cost, access to vegetables, family meal frequency, and ages of family members, especially other children. Strategies that were easy to implement (i.e. bigger spoon) were considered helpful for increasing child vegetable intake.
      Conclusions and Implications: Behavioral strategies for low-income parents intended to improve child vegetable intake should be easy, time-efficient, and cost-effective.
      Funding: USDA.