Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Health Sciences
The purpose of this research study was to examine whether children ages 2 to 18 years follow the eating behaviors and preferences of one or both parents. All faculty and staff at James Madison University were contacted via email to participate in completing a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and food behavior questionnaire for each member of their family living in their household. Of the 3,838 James Madison University Employees who received the bulk email, 9 of them completed questionnaires with their spouses/partners. Using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, children had a positive correlation with their fathers in reported servings of sugar sweetened beverages consumed per week (r=0.472, n=9, p= 0.048), servings of sweets consumed per week (r=0.756, n=9, p= 0.000), and servings of grains consumed per week (r = 0.663, n= 9, p= 0.003). Children had positive correlations with their mothers in reported vegetables consumed per week (r=0.613, n=9, p= 0.007) and servings of protein consumed per week (r=0.665, n=9, p= 0.003). Weekly fat consumption of children and the weekly fat consumption of their mothers and fathers were both positively correlated (r = 0.774, n = 9, p = 0.000; r = 0.563, n = 9, p = 0.015, respectively). In this pilot study, it was revealed that children may pick up eating behaviors and food preferences from both their fathers and their mothers, with the behavioral tendency of mimicking mealtime behaviors from their mothers and snack and dessert time behaviors from their fathers. More research, with a larger and more heterogeneous population group, is necessary to further confirm the findings of this study. More research, with a larger and more heterogeneous populations group, is necessary to further confirm the findings of this study.
Boestfleisch, Kirsten Brooke, "Do the eating behaviors and food preferences of children ages 2 to 18 years resemble those of the mother or father?" (2014). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 387.