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Advanced Search Abstract Food choices established during childhood and adolescence tend to persist into adulthood with consequences for long-term health. Yet, to date, relatively little research has examined factors that influence the food choices of children and adolescents from their perspectives.
Focus group discussions were conducted with 29 young people from three age groups 9—10, 13—14 and 16—18 years.
An inductive thematic analysis identified three key factors as influencing food choices. These factors included intra-individual factors: Among adolescents, parental control began to diminish and adolescents exercised increased autonomy over their food choices compared with children.
To develop effective nutrition interventions, it is important to gather child and adolescent input regarding factors perceived as influencing their food choices.
Studies have consistently shown that many children and adolescents have poor dietary habits that do not meet recommended dietary guidelines Gregory et al. Children and adolescents are increasingly consuming high intakes of foods rich in fat, sugar and salt, and low intake of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and calcium-rich foods Institute of Medicine, There is also evidence to suggest that dietary quality declines from childhood to adolescence Lytle et al.
For example, Lytle et al. Research suggests that the adolescent diet is often poor, lacking in essential nutrients Shepherd and Dennison,and opportunities for promoting the nutritional status of adolescents should be identified. Factors such as lifestyle, developmental, social, and environmental influences can account for the shifts in dietary choices as children move into adolescence Story et al.
Recently, researchers have proposed more comprehensive theoretical models of eating behaviour that take account of multiple interacting factors Story et al.
The ecological model considers the relationship between individuals and their environments and behaviour is viewed as affecting and being affected by multiple levels of influences including microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems and macrosystems Bronfenbrenner, The microsystem is the setting in which the child lives and interacts with the people and institutions closest to them, such as parents, peers and school.
Over time, the relative importance of these different interactions may change. For example, family may be most important in early childhood, whereas peers and school become more important in middle childhood and adolescence.
The mesosystem comprises the interrelations among the components of the microsystem. These are the linkages among the various settings in which the individual is involved, such as family, school or peer groups. Thus, parents may interact with teachers and the school system; both family members and peers may maintain relations with a community group.
The most distal influence is the macrosystem, which consists of the values, ideologies and laws of the society or culture. This means that behaviour and environment are reciprocal systems and that influence occurs in both directions. That is, the environment shapes, maintains and constrains behaviour, but people are not passive in the process, as they can create and change their environments.
These factors include hunger French et al. While some of these factors such as food preferences are consistent and influence food choice throughout life, others are developmental factors uniquely associated with being an adolescent Neumark-Sztainer et al.
For example, gaining autonomy and independence are important developmental factors that influence the eating patterns of adolescents Bassett et al. However, while a broad range of factors has been identified in the literature as important for the food choices of young people Trew et al.
In focus groups conducted with American adolescents, factors perceived as important in influencing food choices included hunger, appeal of food, lifestyle factors, food availability, parental influences, benefits of food, situation-specific factors, mood, body image, media, habit and vegetarian beliefs Neumark-Sztainer et al.
Consistent with the findings of Neumark-Sztainer et al. Recently, Warren et al. The present study builds on the recent study conducted by Warren et al.
Focus groups were conducted with three different age groups of children 9—10, 13—14 and 16—18 years. These age groups were chosen in recognition that as children grow older and enter adolescence, social and environmental influences come into play which can change or reverse the eating behaviour established in the home Hamilton et al.
For the purpose of this article, participants aged 9—10 years will be classified as children, participants aged 13—14 years will be classified as young adolescents and participants aged 16—18 years will be classified as older adolescents.
Children and adolescents were recruited from randomly selected Irish primary and secondary schools from the Irish Department of Education and Science published list of schools. One focus group was conducted with older adolescents drawn from a local youth centre.
Materials A semi-structured interview schedule was developed to guide the focus group discussions. The following key topics were discussed with participants: The focus groups lasted between 40 and 60 minutes.
The group discussions were tape-recorded, transcribed and double-checked for accuracy.
Data analysis Focus group discussions were analysed separately using the inductive thematic analysis approach Hayes, Trends of fast food consumption among adolescent and young adult Saudi girls living in Riyadh adolescents and young adults may have differences in trends of fast food consumption as fast food eating may change with age.
(%) portion sizes of fast food meals. However, the large portion size was the choice for % of participants. PEDIATRIC ORIGINAL ARTICLE Child and adolescent fast-food choice and the influence of calorie labeling: a natural experiment.
Obesity is an enormous public health problem and children have been particularly highlighted for intervention. Of notable concern is the fast-food consumption of children. However, we know very little about how children or their parents make fast-food choices, including how they respond to mandatory.
This is Your Child's Brain on Video Games Video games leave kids revved up, stressed out, and primed for a meltdown. Posted Sep 25, Thus, the availability of a specific food in an adolescent's home will be associated with greater consumption if the adolescent perceives that food to taste good, look good, be healthy, and so on.
Although the data support the use of social cognitive theory in understanding and explaining food choices, an important question remains.
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