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Barns matmot 2.0. Diet, development, and food neophobia in early years. How to promote healthy diets in a kindergarten setting

Eli Anne Myrvoll Blomkvist of the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted her thesis entitled «Barns matmot 2.0. Diet, development, and food neophobia in early years. How to promote healthy diets in a kindergarten setting» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Wednesday 25 August 2021. (Photo: Private)

The results from Barns matmot 2.0 showed an association between longer breastfeeding duration and higher scores of food neophobia, that longer breastfeeding duration and more frequent intakes of fish, fruits and vegetables was associated with higher neurodevelopmental scoring in one-year-old children, and that a digital intervention in kindergartens seems promising in terms of raising awareness about and intake of vegetables in children.

Eli Anne Myrvoll Blomkvist

PhD Candidate

Eli Anne Myrvoll Blomkvist of the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted her thesis entitled «Barns matmot 2.0. Diet, development, and food neophobia in early years. How to promote healthy diets in a kindergarten setting» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Wednesday 25 August 2021. 

She has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences.

The doctoral work are funded by Norske Kvinners Sanitetsforening, supported by the University of Agder and Sørlandet sykehus HF.

Summary of the thesis by Eli Anne Myrvoll Blomkvist:

Barns matmot 2.0. Diet, development, and food neophobia in early years.

How to promote healthy diets in a kindergarten setting

Early diet has a profound impact on a child’s development, growth, and future health. A varied diet with a high intake of vegetables is positive in several domains of health. In Norway, as in many other countries, the intake of vegetables is too low among both children and adults. An important barrier to vegetable intake in children is food neophobia meaning unwillingness to try unfamiliar foods.

The overall objective of this thesis was to explore aspects of early diet in relation to food neophobia and neurodevelopment, and to promote healthy food habits through developing, implementing, and evaluating the web-based kindergarten intervention Barns matmot 2.0, in a cluster randomised controlled trial setting.

To password protected websites with information, movies and recipes were developed for this project.

The participating kindergartens were randomised into two intervention groups and one control group. Children in intervention group 1 were served warm lunch meals including three alternating intervention vegetables three days a week during the intervention period of three months. Children in intervention group 2 were served the same meals and in addition kindergarten staff performed pedagogical sensory lessons adapted from the Sapere method.

A total of four papers is included in the thesis

Paper 1 is a study protocol, describing the rationale for the study and its outcomes, the development of the intervention and the recruitment of participants. A total of 267 children from 46 kindergartens were registered for the study.

Paper 2 is a cross-sectional study, evaluating the association between breastfeeding duration and food neophobia. We found that compared to shorter breastfeeding duration, still being breastfed at 12 months, and being exclusively breastfed at 5 months were associated with slightly higher scores of food neophobia at 16 months of age.

Paper 3 is also a cross-sectional study, investigating the association between dietary factors, including breastfeeding, and neurodevelopment. In the sample of 212 one-year-old children, a longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with higher neurodevelopmental scores. Dietary intake of fish, fruits and vegetables was also associated with higher neurodevelopmental scores.

Paper 4 reports the effect of the intervention study in kindergartens. The results in the sample of 144 children suggested a higher intake of the three intervention vegetables in group 2. We were not able to detect any effect on the level of food neophobia in either intervention group.

The results from Barns matmot 2.0 showed an association between longer breastfeeding duration and higher scores of food neophobia, that longer breastfeeding duration and more frequent intakes of fish, fruits and vegetables was associated with higher neurodevelopmental scoring in one-year-old children, and that a digital intervention in kindergartens seems promising in terms of raising awareness about and intake of vegetables in children.

Disputation facts:

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place in Auditorium B1-001, Campus Kristiansand and online (link below)

Professor Stephen Seiler, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, will chair the disputation.

The trial lecture Wednesday 25 August at 10:15 hours

Public defence Wednesday25 August at 12:15 hours 

 

Given topic for trial lecture«Development and improvement of eating habits throughout childhood. Role of home environment vs pre-school environment»

Thesis Title«Barns matmot 2.0. Diet, development, and food neophobia in early years. How to promote healthy diets in a kindergarten setting»

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here:

The CandidateEli Anne Myrvoll Blomkvist (1978, Smøla in Møre og Romsdal) Masters degree i Clinical nutrition, UiO (2005). Worked as clinical dietitian at Department of preventive cardiology

at Ullevål hospital (now Oslo University hospital). From 2007 clinical dietitian at Avdeling for barn og unges psykiske helse, Sørlandet hospital, on leave from August 2016 until August 2019 for the doctoral work .

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor Anna Sigríður Ólafsdóttir, Faculty of Health Promotion, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Iceland

Second opponent: Associate Professor Anne Lene Kristiansen, Faculty of Humanities, Sports and Educational Science, Department of Sports, Physical Education and Outdoor Studies, University of South-Eastern Norway

Associate Professor Bård Erlend Solstad, Department of Sport Science and Physical Education, University of Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors in the doctoral work were Professor Nina Cecilie Øverby, UiA (main supervisor) and Professor Elisabet Rudjord Hillesund, UiA (co-supervisor)

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. It is a prerequisite that the opponent has read the thesis. Questions can be submitted to the chair Stephen Seiler on e-mail stephen.seiler@uia.no