Parents drink choices are linked to their children’s drink choices – pilot work

We presented our pilot work on parental attitudes to drinking water and drink choices of themselves and their children at the British Feeding and Drinking Group annual conference, Swansea, April 2019.

Full poster available here

Poster abstract – Parental attitudes to food and drink influence children’s choices. Water is recommended as the first choice drink for children (alongside milk) as it does not contain free sugars, thus does not contribute extra calories nor harm teeth. Our pilot study evaluated parents’ attitudes to drinking water and their own and their children’s drink choices. 245 parents of children attending seven London primary schools completed an online questionnaire. Respondents were 82% female and highly educated (80% educated to degree level). Their children were age 5-11 years and 47% of children were female. Parents reported that their first choice of drink was water, followed by coffee and tea. They reported that their child’s first choice was water, followed by fruit juice and squash. There were significant associations between parent and child drink choices. The majority of parents had offered their child water to drink in the past two days (98%), with 73% reporting that their child had enjoyed drinking it. In our sample, parents’ attitudes towards drinking water were positive, for example, they enjoy drinking water (84% agree) and think it is a healthy option (95% agree). Many reported family food strategies that prioritised water over other drinks. Future work will refine our questionnaire before assessing a large and representative sample of UK parents in order to provide some recommendations for policy and practice.

Paula Booth (a), Mark Gardner (b), Kinvara Carey (c), Alison Stafford (d), Anthony Walker (c), Caroline J Edmonds (a)
a. School of Psychology, University of East London, Stratford, E15 4LZ, UK.
b. Department of Psychology, University of Westminster.
c. Natural Hydration Council
d. Healthy Schools London

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