Dairy products contain essential nutrients to ensure healthy growth and bone development in children. However, a significant proportion of children in developed countries fail to consume the daily recommended intake of dairy products. Parents are the gatekeepers of familial nutritional intake and represent a potential vehicle through which to increase dairy consumption in children. As such, formative research was conducted to gain insight into parents’ perceived barriers to and benefits of purchasing and consuming dairy products and to develop innovative message content that could be utilized in future public health campaigns.
Seven in-depth group interviews were conducted in two phases between February and May 2015.
Interviews were conducted in local recreational centres and libraries in British Columbia, Canada.
n21, mean age 38 ( sd5) years) and fathers ( n9, mean age 38 ( sd3) years) of children aged 4–10 years. Results
Parents perceived both positive and negative physical outcomes associated with consuming dairy. Lack of trustworthy information was a frequently discussed barrier theme to purchasing and consuming dairy products. Mothers were concerned about the cost of dairy products. Differences in purchasing and consumption strategies were reported between parents of children who consumed adequate dairy and those who did not. Parents believed the most appropriate communication channel was through print material.
Messages targeting parents, as a means of increasing dairy consumption in children, should address barriers identified by parents. In addition, practical tips should be provided to promote purchasing and consumption of dairy products.