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Appetite. 2006 Jul;47(1):115-8. Epub 2006 May 6.

Relationship of mother and child food purchases as a function of price: a pilot study.

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Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Farber Hall, 14214-3000, USA.


To our knowledge, there are no data on parental influences on child purchasing behavior of healthy or unhealthy foods. Mothers and children in ten families were given 5.00 US dollars to purchase portions of preferred fruits/vegetables and high energy-dense snack foods for each of ten trials of price manipulations. For five of the trials the price of the fruit/vegetable increased in price from 0.50 US dollars to 2.50 US dollars (in 0.50 US dollar increments), while the price of the energy-dense snack food remained constant at 1.00 US dollar. For the remaining five trials, the commodity that previously rose in price remained constant at 1.00 US dollars and the other commodity varied from 0.50 US dollars to 2.50 US dollars. Same-price elasticity was shown for both the child and parent purchases, and parent purchases were significantly related to child purchases of both healthy (regression estimate = 0.46, p < 0.001) and unhealthy (regression estimate = 0.12, p = 0.036) foods. Children's purchases of unhealthy snack food items were positively related to family socioeconomic status, and negatively related to child age. These results indicate that parental food choice and purchasing behaviors may play a role in the development of children's purchasing of both healthy and unhealthy foods.

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