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THE EFFECT OF DIET ON CHILDREN'S MENTAL PERFORMANCE - A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF PERCEPTIONS, ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS OF PARENTS IN FOUR EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Brands, B, Egan, B, Gage, H, Lopez-Robles, JC, Gyoerei, E, Raats, M, Martin-Bautista, E, Decsi, T, Campoy, C and Koletzko, B (2010) THE EFFECT OF DIET ON CHILDREN'S MENTAL PERFORMANCE - A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF PERCEPTIONS, ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS OF PARENTS IN FOUR EUROPEAN COUNTRIES In: European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Annual Meeting, 2010-06-09 - 2010-06-12, Istanbul, Turkey.

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Abstract

Objectives and Study: Nutrition is one of the many factors that influence a child’s cognitive development and mental performance. Understanding the relationship between nutrition and mental performance in children is important in terms of their attainment and productivity both in school and later life. Parents play a key role in the development of children’s food choices and dietary habits. To date, there is little published research on parent’s perceptions of the relationship between diet and mental performance of children. The present study aims to qualitatively examine parents’ perceptions and beliefs about this relationship. Methods: The study was conducted in four European countries, England, Germany, Hungary and Spain. Participants were parents of children aged 4–10 years recruited through state elementary schools. A semi-structured interview schedule was used to conduct interviews with a total of 127 parents; it included questions on the effect of food on a child’s physical.and mental wellbeing and development. Further questions were asked about short or long term effects of diet, the effects of specific foods, meals and supplements. All interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed using NVIVO8. Results: Four main themes emerged from the interviews with a number of subthemes: ‘‘physical effects of diet’’, ‘‘mental effects of diet’’, ‘‘healthiness of diet’’ and ‘‘parenting (responsibility, food preferences, dietary habits)’’. The mental effects of diet are perceived by parents to be on attention and concentration as well as on children’s mood and behaviour. Negative effects are associated with sugary and fatty foods while positive effects are associated more generally with a healthy balanced diet. Conclusion: In all countries parents perceive attention and concentration to be negatively affected by sugary and fatty foods while a healthy balanced diet is believed to have a positive effect on mental outcomes. Based on the exploratory findings of this study, subsequent quantitative studies will need to further examine the prevalence of these perceptions in relation to socioeconomic factors. A detailed understanding of parents’ perceptions of the relationship between diet and mental performance can provide valuable input for better targeted and formulated communication with parents, including intervention programmes as well as claims related to specific food products. Disclosure of Interest: None declared.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Brands, BUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Egan, BUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gage, HUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lopez-Robles, JCUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gyoerei, EUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Raats, MUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Martin-Bautista, EUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Decsi, TUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Campoy, CUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Koletzko, BUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 1 June 2010
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID
PublisherLIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords : Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Nutrition & Dietetics, Pediatrics
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:51
Last Modified : 28 Mar 2017 15:51
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/763189

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