Nav: Home

Analyzing picture books for nutrition education

October 06, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA, October 6, 2016 - Feeding children can be a challenging process for many parents. A previous study found 46% of preschoolers were picky eaters and 40% of picky eaters remained picky for two or more years. Nutrition education and recommended feeding practices may help parents deal with feeding problems and shorten their duration. Books may be used as resources to help teach children to overcome poor eating habits. Thus, a content analysis was conducted to assess messages about dietary behaviors and feeding strategies in a set of picture books.

For the analysis, Oksana Matvienko, PhD, of the School of Kinesiology, Allied Health and Human Services, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, selected picture books that were fiction, published between 2000 and 2016, accessible in the United States, in print format, and appropriate for children 4 to 8 years old. The study included books found in children's literature and publishing industry databases as well as retail and book-oriented websites. The books were then coded to capture themes and patterns presented in the stories. The selection process revealed 104 books that portrayed dietary behaviors.

"The books had positive messages about good eating habits that were communicated in creative, clever, believable, child-friendly, non-preachy, and non-forceful manners, which is what parents prefer," said Matvienko. "But many books delivered interesting, diverse, yet improbable ideas that did not align with science-supported nutritional guidelines."

Of the books evaluated, 50% featured a specific eating behavior, 21% lifestyle or eating patterns, 20% food-related sensations and emotions, and 9% table manners. Some books had clear, direct messages whereas others could be vague, sophisticated, unconvincing, unresolved, or conflicting. The messages in the books were open to misinterpretation depending on many factors. Response actions and problem-solving approaches in books generally did not align with scientific consensus. Although the responsive feeding model, whereby children should be allowed to control their own food intake in the context of structured meals provided by adults, has been advocated for several decades by nutrition professionals, it did not find its way into fictional picture books.

"Picture books are a promising tool for improving children's eating habits, but practitioners should evaluate the book's clarity, accuracy, and strength before making recommendations," said Matvienko. Because books are convenient, they may be a useful tool for parents to help children overcome poor eating habits. However, future research needs to be done examining picture books about dietary behavior alone and combined with other strategies for attaining optimal influence on children's food habits.
-end-


Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Eating Habits Articles:

Meals on the go: The physics of whales' eating habits
Saint Louis University professor of physics Jean Potvin, Ph.D., and colleagues detail for the first time how baleen whales use crossflow filtration to separate prey from water without ever coming into contact with the baleen.
Scientists are gauging how mood influences eating habits
This week at the annual conference of the American Psychosomatic Society, USC researchers are presenting details of how specially-programmed smartwatches monitor family member's emotions and eating behaviors for a study on obesity.
Limited window to change commuting habits
Over 128 million daily commuters in the US and 75% report they drive alone.
Do thoughts of death change our shopping habits?
new research from the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and HEC Montréal shows that, for people with certain world views, thoughts of death can actually trigger the buying impulse.
Healthy recipes and effective social marketing campaign improve eating habits
The Food Hero social marketing campaign is an effective way to help low-income families eat more nutritious meals through fast, tasty, affordable and healthy recipes, two new research studies from Oregon State University have found.
More Eating Habits News and Eating Habits Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...