Food for thought: parents' perspectives of child influence

Jason J. Turner, James Kelly, Kirsty McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Purpose – Aims to investigate the influence parents perceive their children have on family food-purchasing decisions and discuss the reasons why parents do not always purchase healthy food products. Design/methodology/approach – Quantitative analysis was conducted, using 301 questionnaires which were distributed to parents through a local primary school in Dundee. From this sample 143 were returned. Findings – Most parents acknowledge that their children do influence their purchasing decisions, with 86 (60 percent) agreeing or strongly agreeing that they gave in to their children's demands; however, parents feel that they do not give in to pester power. Parents were aware of health issues and state that they regularly purchase healthy food products for their children. However, many parents admit to buying unhealthy food products for their children as treats. Research limitations/implications – This was an exploratory study and carries the limitation of generalisability as it was conducted solely in Dundee. Any further research should contrast perspectives from other UK cities and develop research into the family dynamics and parents' rationale for “yielding” to their children with regard to junk food. Practical implications – It is suggested that parents “give in” to their children, which demonstrates the importance of “getting” the message across to children to eat more healthily. Further, the paper provides insight into influencing factors, suggesting that advertising can play a prominent role in influencing children's eating habits. Originality/value – This paper is helpful to both academics and practitioners in the field of healthy eating among children. The paper provides some insight into parental perspectives of healthy eating and their responses to pester power. Keywords: Dependants, Diet, Influence, Parents
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dependants
  • Diet
  • Influence
  • Parents


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