Introduction: in our multicultural society the global pandemia of obesity consists in the severest form of overweight, affecting young children, with individual and parental dietary and lifestyle factors being associated with OW/OB among preschoolers.
The objective of the study was to assess the parental dietary and lifestyle trajectories that predict and determine native Greek and immigrant preschoolers’ BMI and KIDMED score.
Material and methods: 578 guardian parents and 578 preschoolers (5-6 year-old), both native Greeks (n=451) and other nationalities (n=127) participated in this cross-sectional study. The Food Frequency Questionnaire and KIDMED scores were utilized.
Results: Significantly high level of concordance of guardian parents’ and preschoolers’ dietary habits (Spearman’s rho= 0.94, R2=0.91, p <0.001) was revealed. The strongest predictors significantly increasing BMI in preschoolers (p <0.05) were: low levels of KIDMED score, low frequency of removing fat from meat prior eating, low parental frequency of following Mediterranean Diet. Contrariwise, regular family’s breakfast and brunch consumption, high frequency of consuming vegetables or fruits and physically active parents who control preschoolers’ diet, were predictors of diminishing the risk of high BMI in children. Child’s increased physical activity and parents’ frequency of following the Mediterranean Diet were found to decrease the risk of low KIDMED score in preschoolers.
Conclusions: Both Greek and other nationalities’ guardian parents’ lifestyle characteristics, dietary habits and choices act as determinants either reinforcing or aggravating preschoolers’ health outcomes. Families should promote optimal dietary habits for better health outcomes.
Keywords: preschoolers, immigrants, BMI, KIDMED score, dietary habits, Mediterranean Diet.
Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece
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