Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1940–1949 | Cite as

How do Children Associate Food Type to Illustrated Height and Obesity?

  • Lakshmi RamanEmail author
  • Jasmine Cosby
  • Lama Hodroj
Original Paper


The following three studies examined young children’s and adults’ recognition of the impact of healthy and unhealthy foods on height and weight. Study 1 examined the impact of foods on height and weight. Study 2 examined the role of foods on characters of different ethnicities. Study 3 controlled for participants’ prior knowledge about the impact of food by presenting fictitious alien characters. The results indicated that preschoolers recognized that healthy foods promoted an increase in height but only for African-American images. Adults recognized the impact of nutrition on both height and weight with a greater emphasis of nutrition for weight than height. These results demonstrate that preschoolers’ biological model is more sophisticated and differentiated than previously reported.


Food selection Cognitive development Biological processes Categorization Reasoning 


Author Contributions

L.R.: designed the study, contributed to the data collection, analyzed the data and wrote the paper. J.C.: assisted with the data collection and preparation of the stimuli. L.H.: assisted with the data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants are in accordance with the ethical standards of Oakland University and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oakland UniversityRochesterUSA

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