‘Big, strong and healthy’. Young children’s identification of food anddrink that contribute to healthy growth

Mimi Tatlow-Golden, Eilis Hennessy, Moira Dean, Lynsey Hollywood

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25 Citations (Scopus)


development of children’s understanding of food and drink. This study aimed to document young children’s evaluation of food and drink as healthy, and to explore relationships with socioeconomic status, family eating habits, and children’s television viewing. Data were gathered from children aged 3–5 years (n = 172) in diverse socioeconomic settings in Ireland, and from their parents. Results demonstrated that children had very high levels of ability to identify healthy foods as important for growth and health, but considerably less ability to reject unhealthy items, although knowledge of these increased significantlybetween ages 3 and 5. Awareness of which foods were healthy, and which foods were not, was not related to family socioeconomic status, parent or child home eating habits, or children’s television viewing. Results highlighted the importance of examining young children’s response patterns, as many of the youngest showed a consistent ‘yes bias’; however, after excluding these responses, the significant findings remained. Findings suggest it is important to teach children about less healthy foods in the preschool years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-170
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


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