Diet Approaches to Increase Lentil Consumption in Youth: The D.A.I.L.Y. Project
Canada has emerged as the world’s largest producer and exporter of lentils yet domestic consumption is low and estimated at 0.6 cups per week for Canadians. As children are future consumers of lentils, the D.A.I.L.Y. (Diet Approaches to Increase Lentil Consumption in Youth) project examined, via a questionnaire given to caregivers, benefits and barriers to lentil consumption, nutrition knowledge of pulse foods such as lentils, current lentil consumption data and demographics. A convenience sample, obtained from six schools across different geographic locations in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, targeted caregivers of children 3 to 11 years of age (n = 401). To be eligible for the questionnaire, caregivers needed to be 18 years of age or older and self-identified as having a role in meal preparation within their households. Respondents were primarily aged 26 to 45 years (75.7% female) and were employed fulltime outside the home (59%). Participants used a five-point Likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree) to rank 41 statements eliciting information about their beliefs around lentils. Internal consistency of the belief questions was high (Cronbach’s α = 0.86). The main benefits associated with lentils were health benefits particularly “I believe healthy food is important to my child’s health” (98.3% agreement) and “I would like to eat healthier” (93.8% agreement). The main barriers associated with lentils pertained to family acceptance, mainly “if my child liked lentils I would make them more” (76.3% agreement). Fifty-eight percent of total respondents stated they “never or rarely” consumed lentils (non-consumers). Of non-consumers, the top barriers to lentil consumption include lack of knowledge on how to cook lentils (25.2%), belief that family members would not accept lentils (21%) and the belief that lentils take too long to prepare (15.3%). The majority of respondents perceive there to be more benefits than barriers associated with lentil consumption. An understanding of the perceived benefits and barriers surrounding lentil consumption will help formulate strategies to influence beliefs about lentils.
questionnaire, lentils, pulses, school aged children, food choice
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Pharmacy and Nutrition