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  • 1. Attitudes to Food and Culture British: • Individualist • Less traditional • High prevalence of food related illnesses • 60.8 per cent of adults and 31.1 per cent of children are overweight • Anorexia prevalence rate: 1-2% • Obesity prevalence rate: 22-23% Japanese: • Collectivist • Value food • Low prevalence of food related illnesses • Traditional • Eat average of 25% less calories per day than Americans • Anorexia prevalence rate: 0.005% • Obesity prevalence rate: 3.2% American: • Individualist • Health conscious- Worry / guilt associated with food • Fast paced (fast food) • High prevalence of food related illnesses • Protestant country- morals attached to food • Anorexia prevalence rate: 0.9% (women) 0.3% (men) • Obesity prevalence rate: 33.9% French: • Value food • Tradition • Pleasure driven food consumption • French Paradox • Lower rates of food related illness than UK/ USA • Anorexia prevalence rate: 0.04-0.05% • Obesity prevalence rate: 9.4%
  • 2. The Developmental Approach to eating behaviour and food preference Exposure to food • Neophobia: Fear and avoidance of new foods • Research has found that more exposure to new foods can change children’s preferences. • E.g. Birch and Marlin (1982) introduced 2 year old children to novel foods over a two week period and found a direct relationship between food exposure and food preference. They found that 8- 10 exposures were necessary before preferences began to shift significantly. • These findings suggest that children will prefer foods that they are more familiar with or have had more exposure to. Social Learning • Social learning (modelling/ observational learning): The impact of observing other people’s behaviour on one’s own behaviour. • Birch et al (1980) used peer modelling to change children’s preference for vegetables. They found thatseating young children next to children who preferred different vegetables (e.g. peas rather than carrots) changed the children’s vegetable preference. They concluded that the children’s preferences were being influenced by the other children’s food prferences. • Lowe et al (1998): Found that ‘food duded’ (‘cool’ older children who were enthusiastic about veg) influenced younger children’s food preferences, and increased their intake of fruit and veg. • Parental attitudes to food directly correlate with children’s attitude towards food Associative learning • Associative learning/ Classical conditioning: The impact of contingent factors on behaviour (i.e. pairing one factor with another) • Pairing food with a reward: Birch at al (1980) gave children food in association with positive adult attention- this was found to increase food preference. This suggests that rewarding eating behaviour can change food preference. • Using food as a reward: Birch et al (1980) found that food acceptance increased if foods were presented as a reward. This suggests that the use of food as a reward can increase preference for that food. • Food and physiological consequences: Garcia et al (1974)- food aversions often follow unpleasant experiences of food. Food and Control • Birch (1999) found that restricting children’s intake of certain foods actually makes them more attractive • In this view, parental control may have a detrimental impact on children's eating • Ogden et al (2006) looked at overt and covert control of children’s eating
  • 3. Lepper et al (1982): The relationship between food and rewards Evaluation:  Controlled experiment  Supports the developmental approach  Lacks mundane realism (not real food) Aim: To investigate the relationship between food and rewards Procedure: 28 nursery children were told a story about ‘hulp’ or ‘hulm’ (imaginary foods) Contingent condition: child in the story had to eat hulp/ hulm before they were allowed to eat the other type of food (food was seen as a reward) Non-contingent condition: The order of the hulp/ hulm did not depend on whether the child had eaten one kind of food Findings: Children preferred the food that had been used as the reward for eating the other type of food (contingent condition). There was no preference shown to food type in the non-contingent condition Conclusions: Children will show preference for foods just because they are seen as a reward Other research: Fabes et al (1989)reported that children, aged between 7 and 11, who were accustomed to being rewarded for good behaviour were less likely to help others than those who were not accustomed to being rewarded. This suggests that rewarding an activity can reduce a child’s interest in it.
  • 4. Evaluation of the Developmental Approach to eating behaviour (AO2)  Role of learning: • Emphasises the role of learning • Provides evidence of how food preferences are learned during childhood (e.g. Birch et al, 1980) • Social learning and associative learning have been found to increase preference to certain foods (Birch et al, 1989; Lepper et al, 1982)  Controlled research environment: • Research often carried out in a controlled environment • This enables alternative explanations to be excluded • The impact of specific variables can be investigated, while others are held constant (Can establish cause and effect) • Cause= environment • Effect= Food preference  Generalization of the findings: • Tightly controlled research setting • Methods may lack mundane realism • Results may lack ecological validity • E.g. Lepper et al (1982)  Limited set of meanings associated with food: • Developmental approach suggests that food preference comes only from exposure/ learning • Only sees food as positive or negative • Ignores other factors that are involved (e.g. health concerns, mood etc.) • Reductionist!