Intergenerational differences in beliefs about healthy eating among carers of left-behind children in rural China: a qualitative study

Zhang, Nan, Bécares, Laia, Chandola, Tarani and Callery, Peter (2015) Intergenerational differences in beliefs about healthy eating among carers of left-behind children in rural China: a qualitative study. Appetite, 95. pp. 484-491. ISSN 0195-6663

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (283kB)

Abstract

China's internal migration has left 61 million rural children living apart from parents and usually being cared for by grandparents. This study aims to explore caregivers' beliefs about healthy eating for left-behind children (LBC) in rural China. Twenty-six children aged 6–12 (21 LBC and 5 non-LBC) and 32 caregivers (21 grandparents, 9 mothers, and 2 uncles/aunts) were recruited in one township in rural China. Children were encouraged to keep food diaries followed by in-depth interviews with caregivers. Distinct intergenerational differences in beliefs about healthy eating emerged: the grandparent generation was concerned about not having enough food and tended to emphasise the importance of starchy foods for children's growth, due to their past experiences during the Great Famine. On the other hand, the parent generation was concerned about food safety and paid more attention to protein-source foods including meat, eggs and milk. Parents appeared to offer children high-energy food, which was viewed as a sign of economic status, rather than as part of a balanced diet. Lack of remittances from migrant parents may compromise LBC's food choices. These findings suggest the potential for LBC left in the care of grandparents, especially with experience of the Great Famine, may be at greater risk of malnutrition than children cared for by parents. By gaining an in-depth understanding of intergenerational differences in healthy eating beliefs for children, our findings could inform for the development of nutrition-related policies and interventions for LBC in rural China.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2018 14:06
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/77559

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update