Children's Awareness of Healthy Behaviours - validity of Beauty & Health and Dietary Knowledge & Habits Scales
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Submission date: 2018-12-18
Acceptance date: 2018-12-19
Online publication date: 2018-12-28
Publication date: 2018-12-28
Health Psychology Report 2018;6(4):361-374
The WHO identifies eating habits as the main factor determining body weight in both children and adults. Obesity and underweight are related to health as well as physical attractiveness. Children become aware of the role of healthy nutrition and its relationship to one’s body shape in early childhood. In order to perform a direct study in children aged 5 to 9, the Beauty & Health (B&H) and Dietary Knowledge & Habits (DKH) scales were developed.

Participants and procedure:
The validation procedure involved 721 children assigned to two groups divided with regard to age and education: years 0 to 1 (ages 5-7) and years 2 to 3 (ages 8-9).

The B&H scale allows one to determine how children attribute social success and health-related behaviors to women and men with different body shape. The B&H scale is composed of 18 questions. Some of them are supported with illustrations presenting various healthy behaviors. The child is asked to match each activity to one of three pictures presenting adults with different body shapes (slim, normal, and obese). The survey includes questions regarding social functioning of persons with the different body types. The questionnaire was prepared in two variants, for girls and boys, referring to women and men, respectively. The DKH scale comprises 50 illustrations of healthy and unhealthy food products. DKH consists of two subscales. The first assesses the child’s nutritional knowledge; the researcher shows various pictures of food while the child decides to which group (healthy, unhealthy) these meals belong. The second subscale allows the assessment of the child’s eating habits. The child is shown the same pictures and asked how often he/she eats these meals (very often, only sometimes, very rarely or never). Using the same pictures twice allows an estimate to be made of the cohesion of the child’s nutritional knowledge and their eating habits.

The Beauty & Health and Dietary Knowledge & Habits scales show good psychometric values and can be successfully used to study children aged 5-9 for both scientific purposes and to help assess the effectiveness of school health programs.

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