Parental and teacher influences on the consumption of plain drinking water by primary school aged children

Masters Thesis


Beccaria, Lisa Mara. 2007. Parental and teacher influences on the consumption of plain drinking water by primary school aged children. Masters Thesis Master of Health. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Parental and teacher influences on the consumption of plain drinking water by primary school aged children

TypeMasters Thesis
Authors
AuthorBeccaria, Lisa Mara
SupervisorBuikstra, Elisabeth
Fallon, Tony
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Health
Number of Pages135
Year2007
Abstract

[Abstract]: A rise in the rate of overweight and obesity in children coupled with an increasing availability and consumption of sweet drinks raises questions about the place or importance of plain water in a child’s overall nutritional intake. In terms of influencing a child’s nutritional behaviour, teachers and parents play a crucial role in educating, promoting and encouraging healthy behaviour whether that be in the home or school environment. Schools are seen to be an important setting for health promotion and as such, factors that promote healthy behaviour or barriers against it should be explored.

The primary aims of this study were to 1) investigate parents’ and teachers’ beliefs about water consumption by children whilst at school 2) investigate how parents and teachers perceive themselves as role-models in relation to water consumption in children; and 3) investigate parents’ and teachers’ self-reported behaviour in relation to their promotion of water consumption. This qualitative study was based upon Social Learning Theory and used an exploratory qualitative descriptive design. Using Pender’s Health Promotion Model as a framework, data were collected from 9 participants in total (including 6 parents and 3 teachers). This included semi-structured interviews and a 24-hr Fluid Recall Form. Participants were from one regional primary state school.

Thematic analysis was conducted from the data, and 9 major themes were identified. The results indicated that parents and teachers rated a high importance of their child / student drinking water. Parents and teachers were unsure as to how much water their child / student was drinking each day, nor how much was recommended for them to drink. Some parents and teachers were more active in encouraging and promoting water as a choice of drink, particularly in hotter weather or when children were active playing sport or doing Physical Education Classes. Parents and teachers reported a range of strategies that they used to encourage children to drink water and in the school setting, allowing children to have easy access to a water bottle in the classroom was seen as being positive. Some teachers were unsure what roles they could play in the school to promote water (if it was perceived as part of their role at all). In terms of perceptions of the current school water drinking facilities, many parents and teachers held negative views in terms of hygiene, location and maintenance.

Establishing a habit of drinking plain water was expressed as a difficult task by some participants, citing problems with remembering and taste preferences. Results from the 24-hr Fluid Recall Form supported the fact that many parents drank only small amounts of plain water. Those parents and teachers who did drink more water participated in regular exercise, and therefore their higher water consumption may be as a result of this.

A small number of parents made a connection between what fluids they consumed as a child and what they encourage their child to drink now. Some teachers hoped that by drinking water in front of children in the classroom that this might have a positive influence on the students.

It was concluded that the issue of water consumption in children is worthy of further investigation. There may be opportunities within the school to adopt a ‘whole of school’ approach whereby parents, teachers, students and the broader community work towards establishing and sustaining an environment which continues to promote healthy water drinking behaviours.

Keywordsparental influences; teacher influences; consumption; water; water consumption; primary school children
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420603. Health promotion
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Nursing and Midwifery
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