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Parental restriction and children's diets. The chocolate coin and Easter egg experiments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laura Cutler


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Two naturalistic experiments are reported exploring the impact of parental restriction on children’s diets. For study 1, 53 parents gave 75 g of chocolate coins to their child over a weekend. For study 2, 86 parents were recruited prior to the 2 week Easter break when their children would be receiving chocolate Easter eggs. For both studies, parents were randomly allocated to either the non-restriction or restriction conditions and rated their child’s preoccupation with the target food and other sweet foods (demanding and eating) at the start and end of the interventions. Perceived and actual food intake was assessed. Children in the restriction conditions consumed fewer chocolate coins and Easter eggs. All children showed decreased preoccupation with chocolate coins or Easter eggs over the course of the studies yet by the end the restriction group were more preoccupied with the target food. In contrast, all children showed an increased preoccupation with other sweet foods as the studies progressed which was greater in the non-restriction group for the chocolate coins study. Overall, restriction resulted in reduced intake but relative increased preoccupation with the food being restricted. Non-restriction resulted in a greater preoccupation with other sweet foods once the target foods had been consumed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ogden J, Cordey P, Cutler L, Thomas H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Appetite

Year: 2013

Volume: 61

Pages: 36-44

Print publication date: 01/02/2013

ISSN (print): 0195-6663

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8304

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.10.021


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