Evaluating and communicating about the healthiness of foods: Predictors of parents' judgments and parent-child conversations


Parents are typically in charge of purchasing the food that their children eat, but little is known about how parents decide if particular foods are healthy for their children and how their beliefs about nutrition influence their children’s beliefs. In two studies, we investigated how parents of children ages 4-12 (N = 826) make decisions about the healthiness of foods when presented with different representations of the same nutritional information. Providing parents with nutritional information did not influence their ratings of how healthy food items are, compared to when they were shown only pictures of the foods. Parents reported talking with their children about nutrition, believed they are the best source of information for children about nutrition, and believed their nutrition beliefs influence their children’s beliefs. Our findings highlight the role of prior knowledge in food cognition and how beliefs about foods are transmitted from parents to children.

Cognitive Development, 55, 100913
David Menendez
David Menendez
Postdoctoral Research fellow

My research interests include cognitive development, diagrams, and STEM education