A REPORT ON THE PROMOTION OF HEALTHIER EATING IN CHILDREN
The benefits of a healthy diet are myriad and long lasting and the sooner we start eating more healthily, the better we will feel and the longer we will stay fit and well. It is prudent, therefore to try to encourage a healthy diet in children from as early as possible so as to establish and ingrain habits which will become a way of life. The promotion of healthy eating in children is a form of primary prevention, -of coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, liver toxicity etc.
Research has shown that fear is an ineffective device in health promotion. Freud would contend that fear may lead to denial and avoidance, while Banyard's research has shown that fear can lead to feelings of helplessness which mar the likelihood of recipients' implementation and adherence to healthy modes of behaviour. It is therefore thought inadvisable, in promoting healthier eating patterns to children, to use the kind of lurid examples, -eg/autopsy slides of furred pericardia and film stock of cripplingly obese patients in the throes of serious digestive and coronary illness- which has traditionally accompanied similar campaigns, such as relatively recent initiatives for the prevention of smoking and drug abuse.
A model of the limited effectiveness of fear in health promotion is provided by Janice & Feshback (1953), their study showed that 36% of participants (in this case a sample of university students) were shown to have changed their behaviour positively, and with greater conformity after having been shown a film of minimal fear appeal, compared to only 8% of participants whose behaviour was seen to improve subsequent to being shown a film with a maximal fear appeal. This study has added ecological validity in that it's participants were students in an educational environment,