Influencing children's food consumption: impact of message framing and tailoring on efficacy and intention.
Date of Issue2010
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Children nowadays are heavily exposed with food options which often include unhealthy products. Moreover, with the rise of child obesity cases, there is an increasing need to promote healthy food consumption as part of efforts to tackle obesity. Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables (F&V) can help reduce the risk of obesity in the future, but most children do not meet the daily recommended F&V intake. Hence, this study aims to examine the types of message and individual factors that will influence their intention to consume F&V. Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with children and parents were held prior to the experimental study to explore potential factor that may influence their health behavior. From the three FGD sessions, message framing and tailoring were identified as the message factors and self- and response-efficacy as the individual factors. Afterwards, an interactive computer-based application which consisted of the different types of message and a short questionnaire were developed and used in the experimental study with Elementary Grade 5 students (N = 447) in Singapore. The results showed that tailored message significantly improved self-efficacy and intention to consume F&V. No relationship was found between message framing and intention, but loss-framed message significantly influenced response-efficacy. Self-and response-efficacy were significant predictors of intention. However, only self-efficacy significantly mediated the effect of message tailoring on intention. The thesis concludes with theoretical and practical implications of the findings.
Nanyang Technological University