Food Brand Recognition and BMI in Preschoolers

Appetite. 2017 Jul 1;114:329-337. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.049. Epub 2017 Apr 4.

Abstract

Children's food brand recognition predicts health-related outcomes such as preference for obesogenic foods and increased risk for overweight. However, it is uncertain to what degree food brand recognition acts as a proxy for other factors such as parental education and income, child vocabulary, child age, child race/ethnicity, parent healthy eating guidance, child commercial TV viewing, and child dietary intake, all of which may influence or be influenced by food brand recognition. U.S. preschoolers (N = 247, average age 56 months) were measured for BMI and completed the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test plus recognition and recall measures for a selection of U.S. food brands. Parents completed measures of healthy eating guidance, child dietary intake, child commercial TV viewing, parent education, household income, parent BMI, and child age and race/ethnicity. Controlling these variables, child food brand recognition predicted higher child BMI percentile. Further, qualitative examination of children's incorrect answers to recall items demonstrated perceptual confusion between brand mascots and other fantasy characters to which children are exposed during the preschool years, extending theory on child consumer development.

Keywords: BMI; Food brand recognition; Marketing; Preschoolers; Television; Vocabulary.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child Language
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Fast Foods / adverse effects*
  • Fast Foods / economics
  • Female
  • Food Packaging* / economics
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Michigan
  • Overweight / etiology*
  • Parents
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Television