Parents were found to be positive influences on children’s eating habits.


New Delhi: Researchers recently conducted an interview study investigating primary school children’s beliefs towards eating fruit and vegetables and the causes leading to it. The study has been published in the British Food Journal.

To gauge this, semi-structured interviews were conducted by Dr. Rachel Povey and Lisa Cowap, from the Centre for Health Psychology of UK-based Staffordshire University, along with Lucy Gratton, a Public Health Development Officer from Staffordshire Public Health, with children aged 9-11 from an after school club at a primary school in a deprived area of England.

The results from the study were encouraging as the children seemed to have a very good awareness of the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.

However, children were also found to hold negative beliefs towards fruit and vegetables.

Some of these beliefs were associated with the senses (such as taste and texture), for example, one child described eating a mushroom to be like “eating a small furry animal” and another suggested that mushrooms tasted like “slimy worms”.

Parents were found to be positive influences on children’s eating habits, but surprisingly siblings and friends were sometimes shown to have negative influences, including teasing children for being “square” for eating fruit and vegetables.

On thorough analysis, six master themes were identified from the data. While each of these themes dealt with different beliefs about fruit and vegetable intake, they were also interrelated.