Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Mary G. Roseman

Second Advisor

Hyun-Woo Joung

Third Advisor

Yunhee Chang

Relational Format



The purchase and consumption of functional foods is one of the fastest growing trends in the food and nutrition industry. Though many studies have suggested reasons why consumers purchase and consume functional foods, there has been limited research to understand what factors, if any, influence the use of functional foods in parental dietary practices. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether parental awareness of functional foods, self-reported knowledge of nutrition, overall health, and concern for their children's diets play a role in the provision of specific categories of functional foods (digestive health, weight management, bone health, cancer prevention, heart health, and other) to their children. Participants (n=202) were parents/guardians 18 years of age or older with (a) child(ren) 18 years of age or younger currently living in their home. Parents/guardians were recruited from two schools districts in North Mississippi (Tupelo Public School District and Lafayette County School District) to complete an online or paper survey regarding functional foods and factors that influence their usage in the home. Upon analysis, results of the survey demonstrated that of the variables considered, parental knowledge of nutrition was a statistically significant predictor of parental feeding in all categories of functional foods (p<0.01), with the exception of bone health. No other independent variables were found to be significant predictors of provision of functional foods to children by their parents. To date, there has been minimal research on usage of functional foods in parental dietary practices. As the term "functional food" becomes more widely recognized, some of the factors considered in this study may become a more significant influence of functional food usage in parental dietary practices.

Included in

Nutrition Commons



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