232161 What Do You Want to Eat? Children's Influences on Caregivers' Food Purchasing Behaviors

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Lori Carter-Edwards, PhD , Dept. of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
Janelle Armstrong–Brown, MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Lesley Williams , Independent Consultant, Independent Consultant, Durham, NC
Ashley Johnson , Administrative Office, John Avery Boys and Girls Club, Inc., Durham, NC
BACKGROUND: Perceptions and attitudes of African American children may impact the food purchasing attitudes and decisions of their caregivers. However, little is understood in this area.

PURPOSE: To explore African American caregivers' and adolescents' perceptions and attitudes on: a) children's influences on parental food purchasing behaviors; and b) snack food choices from early childhood to adolescence.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted among 19 caregivers and 12 adolescents in a low- to middle-income community. Photo elicitation and subsequent focus groups were used to collectively explore the context of interview responses.

RESULTS: Both caregivers and adolescents perceived cost and family traditions to be influential on snack food choices. For some caregivers, rather than waste cheaper foods that children may not eat, it was more cost effective to purchase the preferred, more expensive brand foods commonly advertised on television. Time and convenience were also influential in their food purchasing choices. Adolescents perceived that friends influenced choices by introducing new snack foods. Many adolescents expressed that their eating habits had changed for the better from elementary school to the current day. Although more adolescent females than males expressed concern with body image, both were more aware of how food choices affected their appearance than they had been in elementary school.

CONCLUSIONS: In this sample, African American children, in conjunction with the economic and social marketing environment, influence caregivers' food purchasing behaviors. Children's food choices change over time, and can be influenced by their peers. Results imply that food purchasing choices involve the whole family.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the use of mixed, qualitative methods to explore the context of eating behaviors and environments among African American caregivers and adolescents. 2. Identify the similarities and differences in perceptions and attitudes between African American parents and adolescents in the social and environmental factors influencing parental food purchasing behaviors. 3. Describe the context in which social marketing impacts the perceptions food purchasing attitudes of African American parents and adolescents.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have 15 years of experience conducting or leading research studies addressing nutrition or cardiovascular related health in African American communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.