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Brazilian parents’ perceptions of children's influence on family food purchases

Camila Dallazen (Nutrition Post Graduation Program, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil)
Giovanna Medeiros Rataichesck Fiates (Nutrition Post Graduation Program, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 25 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Qualitatively ascertain perceptions of parents regarding their children's influence on family food purchases. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis of the transcripts of 31 semi-structured interviews conducted with parents of students from public and private institutions in Brazil. The public school provided meals supplied by the National School Feeding Program, and discouraged the consumption of foods brought from home. The private school did not receive any governmental subsidies for school feeding, and students were responsible for bringing their own school snacks.

Findings

Parents perceived children's influence especially of energy-dense nutrient-poor food purchases. Parents from the public school students, with lower income and educational levels, showed greater concern with quality and frequency with which requested foods were made available to the child. Only the parents from the private school students mentioned perceiving peer influence over their children's requests.

Research limitations/implications

Results enabled an overview of the main factors that influence children's purchase requests as perceived by parents. School environment seemed to influence requests, reinforcing the need for strategies similar to those present in the public school to be employed in private schools, where government programs that encourage healthy eating are not in place.

Originality/value

Qualitative study conducted with parents of Brazilian school children found that those with lower income and educational level were actually more concerned about their children's eating habits and perceived less peer influence over their children's requests for foods. Initiatives in the public school environment that effectively reduced access to certain kinds of foods in favor of healthier food choices reinforced the school's role as a health promoter for students and also their families.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), for financially supporting the work and for Coordination of Post-Graduate Studies (CAPES) for scholarship.

Citation

Dallazen, C. and Medeiros Rataichesck Fiates, G. (2014), "Brazilian parents’ perceptions of children's influence on family food purchases", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 12, pp. 2016-2025. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-05-2013-0126

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited