Restricting access to palatable foods affects children's behavioral response, food selection, and intake

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.92). 07/1999; 69(6):1264-72.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Restricting children's access to palatable foods may appeal to parents as a straightforward means of promoting moderate intakes of foods high in fat and sugar; however, restricting access to palatable foods may have unintended effects on children's eating. The efficacy of restricting children's access to palatable foods as a means of promoting patterns of moderate intake of those foods is unknown.
Two experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that restricting access to a palatable food enhances children's subsequent behavioral responses to, selection of, and intake of that restricted food.
Both experiments used a within-subjects design to examine the effects of restricting access to a palatable food on children's subsequent behavior, food selection, and food intake. The first experiment examined the effects of restriction within and outside the restricted context and the second experiment focused on the effects within the restricted context.
In both experiments, restricting access to a palatable food increased children's behavioral response to that food. Experiment 2 showed that restricting access increased children's subsequent selection and intake of that food within the restricted context.
Restricting access focuses children's attention on restricted foods, while increasing their desire to obtain and consume those foods. Restricting children's access to palatable foods is not an effective means of promoting moderate intake of palatable foods and may encourage the intake of foods that should be limited in the diet.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Four-year-old Tyler and 5-year-old Cole eagerly tear the shiny green leaves of rainbow chard into small pieces to use in today's recipe: Cheesy Chard Squares. Earlier in the week the children harvested some chard from the play-yard garden and cut up the stalks with scissors. They sampled each of the different colors and talked about the similarities and differences. It is late in the harvest season, and while they work, Janet, their teacher, discusses plans for next year's garden with the children. Cole wants to plant tomatoes. Tyler suggests cucumbers. Both children agree they want to grow rainbow chard again. They mix together several eggs, grate the cheese, and combine the ingredients in preparation for baking. Tyler announces, "I'm going to eat these squares for dinner!" foods, candy in supermarket check- out aisles, and fast-food restaurants offering a free toy with the pur- chase of a kid's meal. These envi- ronmental messages influence chil- dren's decisions about what and how much they should eat (Birch & Fisher 1995; Fisher & Birch 1999; Rolls, Engell, & Birch 2000). By the age of 5, most children have lost their innate ability to eat primarily in response to hunger (Rolls, Engell, & Birch 2000; Haire-Joshu & Nanney 2002) and have learned to prefer calorie-rich foods (high fat and high sugar)—foods often used as a reward or for comfort in American society.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There have been dietary guidelines in Australia since 1979 and all editions have included recommendations about sugar. This paper reviews changing recommendations in Australia, current levels of conumption, recent studies on the potential effects of nutrient dilution and dental caries, and discusses potential risks associated with a dietary guideline.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While parenting style and its relevant dimensions have long been studied in the area of child development, studies on the effects of perceived parenting behaviors on children’s/adolescents’ nutritional health status have been largely neglected. The present study examined whether perceived parenting style and its dimensions are associated with older children’s/young adolescents’ health outcomes, including self-concept, eating behaviors, physical activity behaviors, energy and nutrient intake, and body measurements. This study placed a distinct emphasis on gender differences by exploring the effects of maternal and paternal parenting behaviors on male versus female subjects’ health outcomes in separate analyses. In addition, this study extended the investigation of the roles family meal behaviors play in an environment in which general parenting behaviors exert their impact on children’s/adolescents’ health. Sources of insight from nutrition, psychology, and sociology contributed to this holistic examination of children’s/adolescents’ health. The study subjects included 123 children (9-11 years old) and 106 adolescents (13-15 years old). Data were obtained through survey questionnaires, dietary recall and records, and anthropometry. Various statistical methods were employed in this study, including multiple regression analysis, cluster analysis, factor analysis, and path analysis. Findings of this study confirmed that an authoritative style is more desirable for study subjects’ health outcomes, compared with a non-authoritative style. Generally, maternal/paternal nurturing appeared to be desirable, but maternal/paternal control was an undesirable predictor of youth health, while the subjects’ age (9-11 versus 13-15 years) and gender played critical roles in the associations. Family meal behaviors appeared to be significant predictors of youth health outcomes. Findings from path analysis suggested that the effects of maternal/paternal nurturing/control on the subjects’ health outcomes are mediated by family meal behaviors. Perception that family dinner meals are family rituals turned out to be the most important mediator of the relationship between maternal/paternal nurturing and the subjects’ health outcomes. Of interest, lack of food pressure by parents appeared to be detrimental to eating behaviors and essential nutrient intake of study subjects. Finally, this study showed that fathers play positive roles in improving male/female subjects’ as well as children’s/adolescents’ health outcomes, especially their physical activity behaviors and self-concept.
Show more