Changing Consumer Behavior in Diet and Health: A Case Study on Local Matters
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Marketing and Logistics Honors Theses; 2010
For the first time in two centuries, the life expectancy of children is less than that of their parents due to food related health problems (Belluck, 2005). According to WebMD, “One in three American children born in 2000 will develop diabetes if they adopt the nation’s inactive and overeating lifestyle. […] For Hispanic children […] about one in two will develop the disease” (2003). To combat diabetes and obesity and to improve national health, many children will need to change their consumer decision-making processes regarding food. Instilling healthy food habits and values through early education may be the key to these improvements. In Columbus, Ohio, non-profit organization Local Matters aims to bring about healthier eating habits by educating young children about food. Local Matters’ Food is Elementary program at Indianola K8 Informal actively addresses the obesity epidemic. The program teaches children in grades K-1 the importance of healthy food. Besides dietary health information, the curriculum tries to instill an emotional association between healthy food and happiness through sensory and social activities. Smelling, touching, cooking, and eating food creations are incorporated with socializing with classmates. My fourteen-minute documentary portrays Local Matters’ efforts in developing healthful consumer behavior at a young age. With my camera, I documented and observed Local Matters’ operations, cooking lessons, challenges, as well as the children’s participation and reactions, and parental responses. Based on interviews with children, parents, and Local Matters, I analyzed the program and assessed its effects. Showcasing my documentary at the OSU Denman Research Forum and the 2011 Association for Consumer Behavior Film Competition will raise awareness of children’s health and the anticipated benefits of teaching programs such as Food is Elementary.