Journal article Open Access

Strawberries and Cream: The Relationship Between Food Rejection and Thematic Knowledge of Food in Young Children

Pickard, Abigail; Thibaut, Jean-Pierre; Lafraire, Jeremie

The present research aims to fill this gap by investigating (i) the development of conceptual food knowledge (both taxonomic and thematic) and (ii) the putative relationship between children’s food rejection (as measured by the Child Food Rejection Scale) and both thematic and taxonomic food knowledge. A proportional (A:B::C:?) analogy task, with a choice between taxonomic (i.e., bread and pasta) and thematic (i.e., bread and butter) food associates, was conducted on children between 3 and 7-years-old (n = 85). The children were systematically presented with either a thematic or taxonomic food base pair (A:B) and then asked to extend the example type of relation to select the respective thematic or taxonomic match to the target (C:?). Our results revealed, for the first time, that increased levels of food rejection were significantly predictive of poorer food identification and decreased thematic understanding. These findings entitle us to hypothesize that knowledge-based food education programs to foster dietary variety in young children, should not only aim to improve taxonomic understanding of food, but also thematic relations.

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