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Revista de Nutrição

Print version ISSN 1415-5273

Abstract

RODRIGUES, Vanessa Mello  and  FIATES, Giovanna Medeiros Rataichesck. Children's eating habits and consumer behavior: influence of household income and television viewing habits. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.3, pp.353-362. ISSN 1415-5273.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732012000300005.

OBJECTIVE: This study compared the eating habits and consumer behavior of children from different socioeconomic levels from Florianópolis (SC), Brazil, and investigated their relationship with television viewing habits. METHODS: The present qualitative study analyzed the transcriptions taken during 23 focus groups done in one public and one private school of Florianópolis (SC). The groups consisted of 111 students aged 7 to 10 years. The students' household income was estimated by parental occupation and classified according to the Brazilian Occupation Classification. The households of private school students had higher income than those of public school students. RESULTS: In both schools, most interviewed children reported watching television whenever possible, not perceiving parental control over this habit. Children also mentioned having spending money and the wish to buy products advertised on television ads. The students from the public school reported buying and consuming sweet and savory snacks more often, and having greater freedom to shop than their private school counterparts, who reported feeling greater parental control on their eating and purchase habits. CONCLUSION: The perception of greater parental control may have reduced the influence of television on the spending and eating habits of private school children. The study highlights the importance of formulating strategies that help parents to reduce the impact of television on their children's habits and public policies that encourage healthy food choices. Advertising of unhealthy foods for children should also be regulated.

Keywords : Child; Focus groups; Food habits; Advertisement; Television.

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