Image of a child watching his Father preparing lunch for school.

Offering a variety of healthy foods will help children to adopt good habits.

Healthy food in the back to school rush: information from children's study

Read more about the results of the study into understanding parent concerns about children’s diet, activity and weight status.

  • 25 January 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011

About the recently published study

The objective of the study was to identify parents’ concerns and attitudes towards children’s diets, activity habits and weight status.

Parents were concerned about their child’s education (reported by 35 per cent of respondents), child’s health and well-being (25 per cent), and violence, drugs and alcohol (20 per cent).

Concern about nutrition was indicated by 14 per cent of respondents and concern about fitness/exercise was indicated by 3 per cent of the sample.

Factors perceived as making a healthy diet difficult to achieve for their child were:

  • child resistance (89 per cent)
  • the availability of healthy food (72 per cent)
  • busy lifestyle (67 per cent)
  • the influence of food advertising (63 per cent).

Ninety-two per cent of parents thought that it was realistic for their child to be active for at least one hour per day, with 75 per cent of parents feeling that it was realistic for their child to have less than two hours recreational screen time per day. Despite this, common barriers to achieving the activity guidelines were lack of time, weather and keeping children occupied.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos-Eureka and I-view on behalf and under the guidance of CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences.

Researchers interviewed 1 200 parents of 2-16 year olds across Australia by telephone.

Article details and citation:

Amy Slater, Jane Bowen, Nadia Corsini, Claire Gardner, Rebecca Golley and Manny Noakes. Understanding parent concerns about children’s diet, activity and weight status: an important step towards effective obesity prevention interventions. Public Health Nutrition, Published online by Cambridge University Press 27 Nov 2009 doi:10.1017/S1368980009992096.

About the current Adelaide study

The Children's dairy food, activity and health study runs for 24 weeks.

Families will need to visit the CSIRO six times for 30-60 minutes.

Children’s food intake, physical measurements, lipids and cholesterol will be recorded.

Parents will complete a questionnaire, have their height and weight recorded and attend individual sessions with a Dietitian to receive detailed advice on nutrition and activity and how to go about changing family habits.

Incentives are offered as part of study participation to acknowledge the time and commitment involved. The study is being funded by Dairy Australia.

About the CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Kids

The CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Kids, published by Penguin Australia, provides practical, easy to understand information on nutrition and activity that is relevant to Australian parents and children from toddlers to teenagers.

It is a book for all families wanting to lead a healthier life and teach their children healthy habits that they will take with them into adulthood.

The book provides:

  • A step by step plan for families to make healthy changes to their eating and activity habits including:
  • Training tastebuds
  • Keeping an eye on snacks
  • Phasing out sweet drinks
  • Starting the day with breakfast
  • Preparing healthy lunches
  • Making evening meals easier
  • Reducing screen time
  • Becoming an active family
  • Strategies for parents to establish healthy habits with children
  • Over 100 recipes you and your children will love.

Read more information on the CSIRO Wellbeing Plan for Kids.