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Understanding barriers to fruit and vegetable intake in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children: a mixed-methods approach

  • Katherine Ann Thurber (a1), Cathy Banwell (a1), Teresa Neeman (a2), Timothy Dobbins (a3), Melanie Pescud (a4) (a5), Raymond Lovett (a1) and Emily Banks (a1)...
Abstract
Abstract Objective

To identify barriers to fruit and vegetable intake for Indigenous Australian children and quantify factors related to these barriers, to help understand why children do not meet recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake.

Design

We examined factors related to carer-reported barriers using multilevel Poisson models (robust variance); a key informant focus group guided our interpretation of findings.

Setting

Eleven diverse sites across Australia.

Subjects

Australian Indigenous children and their carers (N 1230) participating in the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children.

Results

Almost half (45 %; n 555/1230) of carers reported barriers to their children’s fruit and vegetable intake. Dislike of fruit and vegetables was the most common barrier, reported by 32·9 % of carers; however, we identified few factors associated with dislike. Carers were more than ten times less likely to report barriers to accessing fruit and vegetables if they lived large cities v. very remote areas. Within urban and inner regional areas, child and carer well-being, financial security, suitable housing and community cohesion promoted access to fruit and vegetables.

Conclusions

In this national Indigenous Australian sample, almost half of carers faced barriers to providing their children with a healthy diet. Both remote/outer regional carers and disadvantaged urban/inner regional carers faced problems accessing fruit and vegetables for their children. Where vegetables were accessible, children’s dislike was a substantial barrier. Nutrition promotion must address the broader family, community, environmental and cultural contexts that impact nutrition, and should draw on the strengths of Indigenous families and communities.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email katherine.thurber@anu.edu.au
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