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Are mothers under lunchbox pressure? An exploration of the experiences of Victorian mothers preparing lunchboxes for their children
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-13, 04:58 authored by K Watson-Mackie, Hayley MckenzieHayley Mckenzie, Fiona McKayFiona McKay
Issue Addressed: A healthy diet is particularly important during childhood. Research suggests that more than 95% of Australian primary school aged children do not eat a diet consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, putting them at risk of poor health. Interventions to improve the quality of children's lunchboxes may help address this issue. However, there is limited understanding of the factors impacting lunchbox preparation. Methods: This study explored the experiences of 10 mothers of Victorian primary school students. Mothers took part in semi-structured interviews exploring their views on lunchbox preparation and food choices. The study used a Constructivist Grounded Theory methodology and data were analysed using an inductive, thematic approach. Results: Analysis of the interviews yielded four main themes. (i) Mothers experienced a range of non-nutritional barriers that impacted the food choices they made for their children. (ii) Children's preferences influenced parental food choices. (iii) Mothers experienced and/or perceived judgement about the food choices they make for their children. And (iv) Mothers identified a lack of support and information from schools about what was appropriate for school lunch. Conclusion: Findings of this study indicate that mothers are concerned with balancing nutrition and child preferences within the broader context of guidelines, perceived or real judgement and income constraints. So What?: The school environment may be an ideal setting to promote healthy eating but support for parents is needed. This is the first study in Victoria exploring mothers' perspectives on lunchbox preparation and provides initial information on which future research can build.
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Publication classificationC1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Science & TechnologyLife Sciences & BiomedicinePublic, Environmental & Occupational HealthAustralianchildrenhealthylunchnutritionparentschoolFOODWOMENFemaleChildHumansAustraliaMothersDietFood PreferencesParentsClinical ResearchNutritionPediatric3 Prevention of disease and conditions, and promotion of well-being3.1 Primary prevention interventions to modify behaviours or promote wellbeingPublic Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified