Objective. To examine diet quality of girls who do or do not take multivitamin-mineral (MVM) supplements and to evaluate predictors of girls’ MVM use, including maternal eating behaviors, MVM use, beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions about child feeding, eating, and health.
Design. Participants were 192 mother and daughter pairs. Daughters were categorized as MVM supplement users or nonusers based on whether girls were consistently given MVM supplements at 5 and 7 years. Girls’ and mothers’ nutrient and food group intakes, maternal child-feeding practices, and maternal eating behavior were compared between the groups.
Results. Mothers who used MVM supplements were more likely to give MVM supplements to daughters. Excluding nutrients from MVM supplements, MVM users and nonusers did not differ in vitamin and mineral intake, either for girls or mothers, and patterns of food group intake were similar for users and nonusers. Mothers of MVM users reported the following: higher levels of pressuring their daughters to eat healthier diets, more monitoring of daughters’ food intake, more success in dieting for weight control, more positive evaluations of their success in eating healthy diets, and lower body mass indexes than mothers who did not give MVMs to daughters.
Conclusions. Daughters’ MVM supplement use was predicted by mothers’ beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and practices regarding mothers’ own eating and child feeding practices, rather than by daughters’ diet quality. For both MVM users and nonusers, daughters’ food group servings were below recommendations, whereas vitamin and mineral intakes exceeded recommendations, a pattern indicative of girls’ relatively high intakes of fortified foods. Mothers should be encouraged to foster healthier patterns of food intake in daughters, rather than providing MVM supplements.
- Received September 4, 2001.
- Accepted November 20, 2001.
- Copyright © 2002 by the American Academy of Pediatrics