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Children Eating Out How Healthy is Their Menu and How Can It Improve?  


Abstract Category: Education
Course / Degree: Bachelor of Education (Honours)
Institution / University: University of Malta, Malta
Published in: 2005


Thesis Abstract / Summary:

This study utilised triangulation as the research design, involving content analysis and three surveys leading to the production of an educational video. The study started by identifying the current situation in the Maltese islands regarding what restaurants are offering to children on their menus. Menus were gathered from family-style restaurants, fast-food outlets, pizzerias and take-aways all around the Maltese islands. The content analysis of these menus focused on the variety of choices offered specifically to children and their nutritional value. The meat group, especially red meat, contributed the largest percentage in the offered dishes in children’s menus. It was followed by the cereal group, potatoes, vegetable group, dairy group, and lastly the fruit group. In the second stage, primary school aged children and their parents were surveyed on leaving restaurants after their dining experience. The goal was to explore what children are consuming when eating out, how food choice was made and by whom, children’s favourite foods, as well as any recommendations for improvements to children’s menus. The majority of children made their own choice according to their food preferences. It was clearly evident that parents felt the need for a healthier and varied children’s menu. In the third stage, restaurant owners and chefs were also interviewed to investigate what is taken into consideration when preparing the menu. Results indicated that restaurant owners and chefs offer children’s menu dishes primarily based on the trend in children’s own requests. There seemed to be lack of awareness of their potential role in generating new trends through healthier menus items. The various findings helped the researchers to plan the content of an educational video targeting 7 to 11-year-old children. The video showed tips for making healthier food choices at restaurants, whilst highlighting the nutritional value of popular restaurant foods and dishes. Trialling of the video in three different primary schools indicated that the video was well received by the children and their teachers. A pre-test post-test exercise also revealed that the video had a positive short-term impact on children’s nutrition knowledge.


Thesis Keywords/Search Tags:
primary school children, eating out, healthy eating, restaurant menus, food choices, educational video

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Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Gatt Marielle and Zammit Charlene from Malta on 07-Sep-2005 02:38.
Abstract has been viewed 2868 times (since 7 Mar 2010).



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