Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Do children's food preferences align with dietary recommendations?

  • CG Russell (a1) and A Worsley (a1)

Abstract

Objectives

To examine how Australian children's reported everyday food preferences reflect dietary recommendations, and the impact of sociodemographic factors on these associations.

Design

Cross-sectional survey.

Setting/subjects

Three hundred and seventy-one parents of children aged 2–5 years, recruited from three socio-economic groups in two Australian cities, completed a survey on their child's liking for 176 foods and drinks on a 5-point Likert scale in addition to demographic descriptors. Preferences were compared with the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Results

Foods in the Extra Foods (non-nutritious foods) and Cereals groups of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating were highly liked (mean: 4.02 and 4.01, respectively), whilst foods in the Vegetables group were liked least (mean: 3.01). A large percentage of foods in the Cereals and Extra Foods groups were liked (64% and 56%, respectively) in contrast to the other food groups, especially Vegetables (7%). Children liked foods that were higher in sugar (r = 0.29, P < 0.0001) and more energy-dense (r = 0.34, P < 0.0001) but not those higher in saturated fat (r = 0.16, P = 0.03), total fat (r = 0.12, P = 0.12) or sodium (r = 0.10, P = 0.18). Sociodemographic variables (e.g. socio-economic status, parental education, children's age and sex) explained little of the variation in children's food preferences.

Conclusions

Australian pre-school children's food preferences align with dietary guidelines in some respects, but not others. Interventions are needed to shift children's preferences away from non-nutritious foods that are high in energy density and sugar, and towards vegetables and fruits.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Do children's food preferences align with dietary recommendations?
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Do children's food preferences align with dietary recommendations?
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Do children's food preferences align with dietary recommendations?
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email georgie.russell@unilever.com

References

Hide All
1Tapper, K, Horne, PJ, Lowe, CF. Food Dudes to the rescue! The Psychologist 2003; 16(1): 1821.
2Lowe, CF, Horne, PJ, Tapper, K, Bowdery, M, Egerton, C. Effects of a peer modelling and rewards-based intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004; 58(3): 510–22.
3Horne, PJ, Lowe, CF, Fleming, PF, Dowey, AJ. An effective procedure for changing food preferences in 5–7-year old children. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 1995; 54(2): 441–52.
4World Health Organization (WHO). Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation on Obesity, Geneva, 3–5 June 1997. Geneva: WHO, 1998.
5Birch, LL. Preschool children's food preferences and consumption patterns. Journal of Nutrition Education 1979; 11(4): 189–92.
6Fisher, JO, Birch, LL. Fat preferences and fat consumption of 3- to 5-year-old children are related to parental adiposity. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1995; 95(7): 759–64.
7Domel, SB, Thompson, WO, Davis, HC, Baranowski, T, Leonard, SB, Baranowski, J. Psychosocial predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption among elementary school children. Health Education Research 1996; 11(3): 299308.
8Resnicow, K, Davis-Hearn, M, Smith, M, Baranowski, T, Lin, LS, Baranowski, J, et al. . Social-cognitive predictors of fruit and vegetable intake in children. Health Psychology 1997; 16(3): 272–6.
9Bere, E, Klepp, K-I. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intake among Norwegian schoolchildren: parental and self-reports. Public Health Nutrition 2004; 7(8): 991–8.
10Cullen, KW, Eagan, J, Baranowski, T, Owens, E, de Moor, C. Effect of a la carte and snack bar foods at school on children's lunch-time intake of fruit and vegetables. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2000; 100(12): 1482–6.
11Harvey-Berino, J, Hood, V, Rourke, J, Terrance, T, Dorwaldt, A, Secker-Walker, R. Food preferences predict eating behavior of very young Mohawk children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1997; 97(7): 750–3.
12Rozin, P. Acquisition of stable food preferences. Nutrition Reviews 1990; 48(2): 106–13.
13Birch, LL, Fisher, JA. The role of experience in the development of children's eating behavior. In: Capaldi, ED, ed. Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1996; 113–41.
14Steiner, J. Human facial expression in response to taste and smell stimulation. Advances in Child Development and Behavior 1979; 13: 257–95.
15Rosenstein, D, Oster, H. Differential facial responses to four basic tastes in newborns. Child Development 1988; 59(6): 1555–68.
16Gibson, EL, Wardle, J. Energy density predicts preferences for fruit and vegetables in 4-year-old children. Appetite 2003; 41(1): 97–8.
17Birch, LL, McPhee, L, Steinberg, L, Sullivan, S. Conditioned flavor preferences in young children. Physiology & Behavior 1990; 47(3): 501–5.
18Mennella, JA, Beauchamp, GK. The early development of human flavor preferences. In: Capaldi, ED, ed. Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1996; 83112.
19Mela, DJ. Why do we like what we like? Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2000; 81: 1016.
20Birch, LL. Development of food preferences. Annual Review of Nutrition 1999; 19: 4162.
21Birch, LL, Fisher, JO. Development of eating behaviors among children and adolescents. Pediatrics 1998; 101(3 Pt 2): 539–49.
22Cashdan, E. Adaptiveness of food learning and food aversions in children. Social Science Information 1998; 37(4): 613–32.
23Wardle, J, Sanderson, S, Gibson, EL, Rapoport, L. Factor-analytic structure of food preferences in four-year-old children in the UK. Appetite 2001; 37(3): 217–23.
24Skinner, JD, Carruth, BR, Bounds, W, Ziegler, PJ. Children's food preferences: a longitudinal analysis. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2002; 102(11): 1638–47.
25Nicklaus, S, Boggio, V, Chabanet, C, Issanchou, S. A prospective study of food preferences in childhood. Food Quality and Preference 2004; 15(7–8): 805–18.
26Cooke, LJ, Wardle, J. Age and gender differences in children's food preferences. British Journal of Nutrition 2005; 93(5): 741–6.
27Turrell, G. Socioeconomic differences in food preference and their influence on healthy food purchasing choices. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 1998; 11(2): 135–49.
28Kratt, P, Reynolds, K, Shewchuk, R. The role of availability as a moderator of family fruit and vegetable consumption. Health Education & Behavior 2000; 27(4): 471–82.
29Campbell, K, Crawford, D, Jackson, M, Cashel, K, Worsley, A, Gibbons, K, et al. . Family food environments of 5–6 year-old-children: does socioeconomic status make a difference? Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002; 11(Suppl.): S55261.
30Sullivan, SA, Birch, LL. Infant dietary experience and acceptance of solid foods. Pediatrics 1994; 93(2): 271–7.
31Babicz-Zielinska, E. Food preferences among the Polish young adults. Food Quality and Preference 1999; 10(2): 139–45.
32Logue, AW, Logue, CM, Uzzo, RG, McCarty, MJ, Smith, ME. Food preferences in families. Appetite 1988; 10(3): 169–80.
33Smith, A, Kellett, E, Schmerlaib, Y. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services, 1998.
34Hodgson, JM, Jus-Hage, BH-H, Wahlqvist, ML. Food variety as a quantitative descriptor of food intake. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 1994; 32: 137–48.
35Kennedy, ET, Ohls, J, Carlson, S, Fleming, K. The Healthy Eating Index: design and applications. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1995; 95(10): 1103–8.
36SPSS Inc. SPSS for Windows, Release 12.0. Chicago, IL: SPSS Inc., 2004.
37Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Census of Population and Housing (Australia: 2001). Canberra: ABS, 2001.
38Campbell, K, Crawford, D. Family food environments as determinants of preschool-aged children's eating behaviours: implications for obesity prevention policy. Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 2001; 58(1): 1925.
39World Health Organization (WHO). Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Geneva: WHO, 1990.
40Department of Health. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. Report on Health and Social Subjects No. 41. London: HMSO, 1991.
41National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Food for Health. Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia. Canberra: NHMRC, 2003.
42Zuppa, JA, Morton, H, Mehta, KP. Television food advertising: counterproductive to children's health? A content analysis using the Australian Guide to Health Eating. Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia 2003; 60(2): 78.
43Simons-Morton, BG, Baranowski, T, Parcel, GS, O'Hara, NM, Matteson, RC. Children's frequency of consumption of foods high in fat and sodium. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 1990; 6(4): 218–27.
44Skinner, JD, Carruth, BR, Bounds, W, Ziegler, P, Reidy, K. Do food-related experiences in the first 2 years of life predict dietary variety in school-aged children? Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2002; 34(6): 310–5.
45Liem, DG, Mennella, JA. Sweet and sour preferences during childhood: role of early experiences. Developmental Psychobiology 2002; 41(4): 388–95.
46Liem, DG, Mars, M, de Graaf, C. Consistency of sensory testing with 4- and 5-year-old children. Food Quality and Preference 2004; 15(6): 541–8.
47Birch, LL, Sullivan, SA. Measuring children's food preferences. Journal of School Health 1991; 61(5): 212–4.
48Wardle, J, Guthrie, CA, Sanderson, S, Rapoport, L. Development of the Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2001; 42(7): 963–70.
49Archer, LA, Rosenbaum, PL, Streiner, DL. The Children's Eating Behaviour Inventory: reliability and validity results. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 1991; 16(5): 629–42.
50Pelchat, ML, Pliner, P. Antecedents and correlates of feeding problems in young children. Journal of Nutrition Education 1986; 18(1): 23–9.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed