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How do children learn eating practices? Beyond the nutritional information, the importance of social eating

Abstract : Purpose – Drawing on Bronfenbrenner's ecological model, this research aims to investigate the interweaving of the socialization systems within which children learn eating practices, in order to open up new paths to build prevention and care programs against childhood obesity. Design/methodology/approach – Children were interviewed using semi‐structured interviews, including projective methods. The data were analyzed by both a manual content analysis and the use of qualitative analysis software Nvivo. Nvivo enables to cross verbatim and contributes to highlight the joint effects of socialization agents in terms of children's eating learning. Findings – The study clarifies the interrelationships between social contexts in which children learn food practices. It points out that the different social spheres may sometimes exert contradictory influences and that food learning cannot be limited to the transmission of nutritional information, but also involves emotional and social experiences. Social implications – By showing that eating habits stem from complex processes, the research suggests measures against children's obesity that take into account the interrelationships between social contexts. It invites the policymakers and the food companies to implement actions based on social relationships involved in food learning. Originality/value – Whereas the traditional consumer socialization models focus on interactions between child and one socialization agent, this research's findings shed light on the entanglement of social spheres concerning eating socialization. They show that using a social‐ecological approach is useful to policymakers, researchers, marketers, and other constituencies involved in developing solutions to the obesity problem.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 6:36:33 AM
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Valérie Hemar‐nicolas, Pascale Ezan, Mathilde Gollety, Nathalie Guichard, Julie Leroy. How do children learn eating practices? Beyond the nutritional information, the importance of social eating. Young Consumers, 2013, 14 (1), pp.5 - 18. ⟨10.1108/17473611311305458⟩. ⟨hal-01655513⟩



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