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Children's perceptions of who controls their food

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The purpose of this study was to explore children's perceptions of who controlled the quality and quantity of their food during the week. Methods

Semi structured interviews were carried out with 98 9-year-old children. The children were asked to describe who chose what they ate during a typical week day. They were also asked about who decided how much they ate. Results

The children thought that adults had a high degree of control over their food. They frequently reported that either they were allowed to choose from a selection provided by an adult, or that an adult chose their food without consultation. Many children reported that adults were very influential in determining how much food they ate. Conclusions

Although the children thought that adults imposed control upon their food choices, it is argued that children have more choice about their food than at any time in history. The children's perceptions highlight the need for planned dietary change to acknowledge the various influences which can affect choices of children's food.
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Keywords: children’s; choice; control; meals; perceptions; snacks

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Health Education and Research, Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent, UK

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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