Perceptions of Children, Parents, and Teachers Regarding Whole-Grain Foods, and Implications for a School-Based Intervention

Teri Burgess-Champoux, Len Marquart, Zata M Vickers, Marla M Reicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify perceptions of whole-grain foods and factors influencing intake by children, parents, and teachers as the basis for increasing intake by children within a school-based intervention. Design: Focus group interviews with questions based on Social Cognitive Theory. Setting: After-school care programs in 4 elementary schools in a large metropolitan district in St. Paul, Minn. Participants: Seven, three and two focus group interviews with children (n = 40; grades K-6), parents (n = 18), and teachers (n = 11), respectively. Phenomenon of Interest: Child and adult factors influencing intake of whole-grain foods, with a tasting activity to stimulate discussion. Analysis: Qualitative data analysis procedures to generate common themes from encoded transcripts. Results: Adults and children were positive about sensory characteristics of whole-grain products. Knowledge of ways to identify these foods was limited. Taste preferences strongly influenced selection of bread and cereals. Children suggested that new school foods should look and taste good, be familiar, and be promoted through sampling, peer influence, and incentives. Adults suggested a gradual increase in whole-grain content of school meals. Implications for Research and Practice: Focus groups were useful in understanding perceptions regarding whole-grain foods and yielded valuable insight toward design of a school-based intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-237
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by funds from the College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota. The authors would like to thank the focus group participants and the directors and staff of the Discovery Club Program who assisted in the recruitment of participants.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • children
  • focus groups
  • parents
  • school-based intervention
  • sensory
  • teachers
  • whole-grain foods


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