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Title: The development of children's thinking about food and health
Author: Bullen, K. S.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2001
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A series of studies of how children (aged 3-16 years) think about food and health, and the implications for nutrition education are reported. Studies 1-3 investigated the food and health concepts of 3-5 year old children (n=73) through a spontaneous food classification task and a series of structured interviews. It was found that until the age of 5 years children's thought about diet and health was dominated by phenomenism. Studies 4-6 considered the development of food and health concepts in children aged 7-16 years of age (n-222). By 7 years of age children had established a substantial diet and health knowledge base. Two periods (5-7 and 11-12 years) when children appeared potentially susceptible to nutrition education interventions were suggested. The results of the studies indicated that by 16 years of age the majority of children had well established diet and health concepts. However, a number of 16 year old participants still had difficulties classifying foods. The conclusion drawn was that although current practice in nutrition education provides children with declarative knowledge (knowing that), it may under-develop practical skills and procedural knowledge (knowing how). This suggestion was examined further through a small scale study comprising the classification strategies used by a sample of 9 year old children (n=17) before, and after, a series of food and health related interventions. The findings indicated that knowledge based teaching, that did not provide opportunities for the development of practical skills, did not result in conceptual change. The possible implications of the findings for current nutrition education were discussed, and recommendations for policy and practice made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available