Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Jeremy D. Akers

Elizabeth Edwards

Sarah Carson


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.