Track Session on ‘Promoting Food Choice and Health for Children: Political, Economic, and Behavioral Aspects’ at the Annual Meetings of the AAEA,, Denver, CO, USA.

Organizers: Carola Grebitus (University Bonn, Germany) and Larissa S. Drescher (TUM School of Management, Germany)

Abstract (session theme and focus):

A substantial amount of scientific evidence shows that a balanced diet comprising healthy and diverse foods is essential for lowering the risk of (chronic) diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes. In this regard, surveys in many industrial countries indicate that children and adolescents in particular fail to meet public health guidelines. Dietary patterns adopted in early childhood are prominent factors in shaping future food choice. Thus, early familiarity with healthy food or a lack thereof provides lasting ‘food roots’. Thus, to increase healthy food choices of children promises a high return on investment.
                But, eating behaviour is highly complex and results from the interaction of multiple influences. Thus, in explaining consumption decisions individual behavior as well as economical, political and societal determinants need to be considered. In this regard the first presentation analyses the role of governmental interventions in preventing and overcoming childhood obesity. The presentation provides a comprehensive overview giving insights from a scan of worldwide policies targeting the issue. Based on the policy scan, it concludes with a discussion on existing policies of childhood obesity and recommendations. Also, important aspects of a healthy food choice for children are behavioral determinants such as perceptions, attitudes and preferences of parents. We will discuss these determinants analyzing parents’ purchase patterns of foods for children based on an empirical investigation from Germany. The third presentation examines the industry’s perspective regarding healthy foods for children by means of advertisement for fruits and vegetables.  Lastly, a fourth presentation analyzes children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables focusing on school meals versus home meals. It addresses the question whether kids that selected/consumed more fruits and vegetables in school also consumed more at home. Therewith this presentation investigates whether school meals are “substitutes” or “supplements” in their consumption. Overall, the papers give insight into the perspective of the government, the consumers and the industry with regard to healthy food choices for children. The methodologies used are qualitative as well as quantitative analyzing different countries around the world including for example U.S., Canada, UK and Germany.

Moderator:  Allen F. Wysocki (University of Florida, USA)

Addressing childhood obesity: An economic and policy challenge
Sean B. Cash (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) , Larissa S. Drescher (TUM School of Management, Germany)

Determinants of parents’ purchase patterns of foods for children – Evidence from Germany
Carola Grebitus, Gesa Maschkowski, Johannes Simons (All University of Bonn, Germany)

Fruit and vegetable consumption of children: The role of advertisement
Monika Hartmann (University Bonn, Germany), Lisa House (University of Florida, USA)

Children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables: School meals vs. home meals
Ariun Ishdorj (Texas A & M University, USA), and Helen H. Jensen(Iowa State University, USA)

Discussant: Jayson L. Lusk (Oklahoma State University, USA)