Exploring parenting variables associated with sweetness preferences and sweets intake of children

Woo, Taejung;Lee, Kyung-Hea

  • Received : 2018.12.23
  • Accepted : 2019.03.07
  • Published : 2019.04.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Excessive sugar intake is one of the causes associated with obesity and several chronic diseases prevalent in the modern society. This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of parenting variables based on the theory of planned behavior, on the sweetness preferences and sweets intake of children. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Parents and their children (n = 103, aged 5-7 years) were enrolled to participate in a survey for this study, after providing the required informed consent. Parents were asked to fill out a self-administered questionnaire at their residence. The sweetness preference test for children was conducted at a kindergarten (or daycare center) by applying the one-on-one interview method. RESULTS: The children were divided into two clusters categorized by the K-mean cluster analysis: Cluster 1 had higher sweetness preference (0.42 M sugar, 35%; 0.61 M sugar, 65%); Cluster 2 exhibited lower sweetness preference (0.14 M sugar, 9.5%; 0.20 M sugar, 9.5%; 0.29 M sugar, 81%). Cluster 1 had a higher frequency of sweets intake (P < 0.01), and lower sweets restriction (P < 0.05) and nutrition quotient score (P < 0.05). Sweets intake was negatively correlated with the nutritional quotient (r = -0.204, P < 0.05). The behavioral intention of parents was higher in cluster 2 (P < 0.05), while affective attitude, feeding practice, and reward were higher in cluster 1 (P < 0.001, P < 0.05, and P < 0.01, respectively). Furthermore, behavioral intention of parents showed a negative correlation with affective attitude (r = -0.282, P < 0.01) and feeding practice (r = -0.380, P < 0.01), and a positive correlation with subjective norm (r = 0.203, P < 0.05) and parenting attitude (r = 0.433, P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that the sweetness preferences and sweets intake of children is related to the parent's affective attitude, feeding practice and reward. We suggest that to reduce the sugar consumption of children, guidelines for access to sweets and pertinent parenting practices are required.


Child;food preferences;parenting;theory of planned behavior


Supported by : Changwon National University