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What do young Kiwi kids eat?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
What do young Kiwi kids eat?

Do you have a child that eats everything or are mealtimes a battleground in your household?

Researchers from the College of Health at Massey University would like parents of two to four year olds to complete an online survey that will take approximately 20 minutes.

They want to uncover what Kiwi kids are eating and whether parents have any worries about feeding their children.

Master of Nutrition student Saya Hashimoto was inspired by the ACTIVE eating programme run by Massey University’s Insitute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health (IFNHH). The programme deals with children who are extremely fussy eaters, but as no two children are the same Ms Hashimoto wants to find out more.

“We want to know what Kiwi kids are eating and what the common eating issues are that parents are dealing with.”

At some point most parents will be concerned about whether their child is eating enough or too much, and whether they are eating the right foods or not. At the end of the survey parents will be provided with guidelines on how to feed their children.

As part of the survey parents will answer questions on the foods their child eats and whether they have any concerns about behaviours around mealtimes or eating. Dr Pam von Hurst from the research team says there is no national nutritional survey data available for this age group. “We know so little about this age group, and whether they are meeting our current national guidelines.”

Lead researcher Dr Cath Conlon is hoping that parents from across New Zealand will respond, and help reflect New Zealand’s growing diversity.

“We’re looking for parents of children aged two to four from all ethnic backgrounds across New Zealand to fill in the online survey. We’re aiming for over 1000 participants to complete the survey and we’ve already had more than 700 people take 20 minutes out of their day to help out.”

The team says the research will ultimately help build some simple diagnostic tools for health professionals to identify if young children are at risk of a poor nutritional intake.

The survey is available online, and Ms Hashimoto hopes to have the data collection completed in the next couple of months.

To complete the survey, go to:

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern. Application: 13/056.


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