Pre-adolescents don’t know what parsnip is

#ESR9: My Pilot Study in Lithuania and vegetable preferences

I am just in love with the topic of my Ph.D. project which aims to study peers and siblings influence on children healthy eating behavior. And I was even more excited about finding this out myself. So, after a short while of my Ph.D. studies, which started in September 2018, I did my best to throw myself into exciting data collection in a sample of 9-13 years old children. My pilot study took place in an ordinary city, an ordinary school but with special children (since every child is special in a way) in Lithuania where I performed data collection in December 2018. I like doing surveys, especially pilot ones when I can be close to the children and hear their feedback about my “simple” questions which later were supposed to be transformed into my precious variables. However, it seems that some questions were not so easy for children to answer. For example, when filling vegetables and snacks preferences questionnaire children were asked to read the food item name and rate how much they like it with possible answers ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). Many children had no clue what parsnip is, so I had to explain it for them again and again. I even drew it on the blackboard and used my smartphone to show them pictures.

Other vegetables that were not so popular on “unrecognizable veggies” list were celery and green beans, and occasionally spinach. Surprisingly, children have no difficulties in rating their preferences for snacks such as chips, cakes, and chocolate biscuits. These findings made me sad in a way, because all “unrecognized veggies” are great vegetables full of vitamins and microelements and everybody would benefit from eating them on a daily basis. Let’s introduce our children to a variety of nutritious vegetables from the youngest age possible and help them to be happy, healthy and answer to questions of future surveys like mine without any concerns. JJJ

From fluffy clouds with sunny vitamins,

Tija J

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