Marta Stachurska, Rafał Milewski, Sylwia Dzięgielewska and Anna Justyna Milewska
Health behaviours of preschool children have a considerable impact on the shaping of habits later on in their lives. Parents’ and guardians’ role is to develop positive health patterns and represent exemplary models to be followed by children. The aim of the paper is to present the use of correspondence analysis for the assessment of the relationship between eating habits of parents and children, as well as for the determination of the most common situations in which preschool children consume fast-food products and to find the relationship between the frequency of fast-food consumption and BMI values in preschool children. The tests were carried out with the use of an own survey carried out in kindergartens in Białystok among parents dropping off and picking up children. 149 correctly filled questionnaires were obtained. The statistical analysis employs the chi-squared test and correspondence analysis. Among the tested children, a statistically significant relationship between body weight and sex was obtained. In the group of children and parents consuming fast-foods, a statistically significant relationship between the frequency of children’s and parents’ consumption of the products in question was noticed. A statistically significant relationship between the age of introduction of fast-food products into the child’s diet and their BMI was found. A situation that was statistically significant as far as contribution to frequent consumption of fast-food products by children, i.e. at least once a week (as compared to sporadic), were children and parents shopping together. The relationship between the frequency of fast-food consumption by parents and children was presented in the form of correspondence maps, as well as the relationship between the child’s BMI and the age when the first fast-food product is served, and the relationship between the child’s BMI and the frequency of their consumption of fast-foods. Unfortunately, despite the high awareness among parents of the harmful effects of fast-food products and the widespread health education programmes, a number of the children in kindergartens were overweight or even obese. For this reason, the quality of the educational programmes in kindergartens, as well as in various media outlets, needs to be improved, with emphasis put on their effectiveness, in order to minimise the problem of the occurrence of overweight and obesity in children. It is also important for parents rearing children to pay special attention not only to their children’s menus, but also to foods consumed in the presence of children.