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Table 2 Categorization and distribution of responses regarding mothers’ perceptions of their children’s diets (n = 464)

From: Mothers’ perceptions of their own diets and the diets of their children at 2–3 years of age

Perception of child’s diet as healthy (n = 334, 72%) Perception of child’s diet as unhealthy (n = 130, 28%)
Themes/examples of responses n % Themes/examples of responses n %
“He always eats vegetables and meat”
“He avoids salty snacks, ‘snacks, soft drinks, instant noodles”
“Because he eats the main foods with iron and vitamins”
“Because I try to give him healthy food”
210 68.6 Quality
“He eats a lot of fried foods”
“He should have more fruits and vegetables”
“Because he eats a lot of junk food”
“He doesn’t eat well, he was eating a lot of snacks, sweets, junk food”
95 78.5
“He eats everything”
“He eats everything, he’s balanced”
“He eats everything, he doesn’t refuse anything”
46 15 Quantity
“Because he doesn’t eat anything”
“He only eats a little of everything”
“Because he doesn’t eat enough to be healthy”
14 11.6
Regularity or routine
“He eats breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and, before going to sleep, drinks from his milk bottle”
“Because he eats at the time”
“Because he eats and makes all the meals of the day”
26 8.5 Variety
“He doesn’t eat everything he should”
“Because he doesn’t eat anything, practically only milk”
“He only likes to drink milk”
12 9.9
School meals
“Because he eats well at school”
“Meals aren’t made at home, only at school”
21 6.9 Regularity or routine
“Because there is no routine for the preparations, for making vegetables every day”
“He doesn’t have a regular diet”
12 9.9
Perceived health outcomes
“Because he is gaining weight”
“Because he is always well when he sees the doctor”
17 5.6 Perceived health outcomes
“He has a stomach ache”
“He is lactose-intolerant”
03 2.5
“He eats a lot”
“Because he eats well, he eats a lot”
“Because he eats everything”
16 5.2 Does not know
“I don’t know”
02 1.7
Does not know
“I don’t know”
06 02    
  1. Data lacking (n = 37): mothers who did not answer the question: “Do you consider your child’s diet to be healthy? If so, why? If not, why not?”