Healthy Kids' Eating Habits Start at Home
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree when it comes to healthy eating habits among kids ages 6-11. Moms and step-moms are prime influencers in this regard, so marketers have ample reasons to communicate nutrition and health messages to this caregiver audience for a wide range of edibles.
Those who purchase low-calorie or organic foods and who don't keep junk food at home have children who are more likely than the average child to express healthy eating-related attitudes, according to GfK MRI's “2011 American Kids Study” and its supplemental “Parents Study.”
Moreover, moms (and caregiver dads) who teach their children to read nutrition labels appear to have the most health-conscious kids. The children of these parents are 106% more likely than the average child to read nutrition labels, 44% more likely to avoid fattening foods, 37% more likely to stay away from sugary foods, and 31% more likely to play sports to stay in shape.
On the other hand, where there are no nutrition rules you find children who are far less concerned with healthy lifestyles. Kids with no rules regarding food and nutrition are less likely to pay attention to sugar or fat content, to read nutrition labels, or play sports for exercise. Moreover, they are 64% more likely to eat whatever they want.
Adult role models have a major impact on their youthful offspring. Those who agree with the statement “I view my own eating habits as a model for the child” have youngsters who index high for avoiding sugary and fattening foods, reading nutrition labels and playing sports because it keeps them in shape and/or “it’s good for me.”
Broadening the scope a bit, our data show that kids continue to exert influence over a wide range of everyday purchase decisions. You don’t have to work for Hasbro to guess that toys top the list, with 95% of parents saying their kids sway their choices of playthings. Clothing is close behind at 90%, followed by breakfast foods (89%), lunch (88%), school supplies (88%), fast-food restaurants (88%), DVD’s (88%) and dinner (81%).
Where do kids exert the least influence? Starting with the bottom of the list and working upward: automobiles, cell phones, computers, soft drinks, family vacations, video games and family-style restaurants.