The purpose of this paper is to show that, as a factor in the socialization of children, school can play a major mediating role in the reduction of the prevalence of childhood obesity through school programs aimed at promoting healthy and well‐balanced food intake.
The paper is an exploratory study with children and parents, using semi‐directive interviews.
The findings indicate that parents modified their own eating habits – and consequently that of all the family – by taking into account information acquired by the children in their school context. This change in the family food habits operated through a learning mechanism called “reverse socialization” where children transmit knowledge and consumption skills to their parents.
A small sample size was used and results should be considered as indicative.
The paper provides suggestions for public and private agencies and actors to better target their messages in order to reduce child obesity prevalence by promoting school programmes aimed at reducing child obesity.
The paper shows that reverse socialization is a sociological concept not often included in consumer behaviour research and has not yet been applied to food habits.
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