NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1175910
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0017-8969
Listening to Pre-School Children Speak about Health and Health-Promoting Behaviours
Wiseman, Nicola; Harris, Neil; Lee, Jessica
Health Education Journal, v77 n3 p312-321 Apr 2018
Objective: As children become increasingly exposed to health information and education, it is important to understand how these messages affect the way children speak about health and health behaviours. Children are social agents and co-constructors of their social worlds. Exploring how pre-school children speak about health and health-promoting behaviours can help explain what children make of health messages and may help facilitate communication between children, parents and educators. Methods: Participants included 163 pre-school children aged 3-5 years attending childcare centres in South-East Queensland, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore how pre-school children speak about health and health behaviours. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Participant responses were structured as two categories. The first category was "Meaning of Healthy." This category comprised four themes of eat your food (n = 74 of 145, 51%), participating in activities (n = 36, 24%), growing big and strong (n = 20, 13%) and not being sick (n = 15, 10%). The second category, "How to be Healthy," comprised five themes including eat healthy food (n = 86 of 150, 57%), reduce risk (n = 31, 20%), treat illness (n = 13, 8%), be well behaved (n = 12, 8%) and do exercise (n = 8, 5%). Conclusion: Findings highlighted the centrality of food in how children speak about health. In comparison to the discussion of food and the importance of eating healthy food, there was limited mention of physical activity by participants as a way to be healthy. The theme reduce risk emerged from participant responses and relates to the practice of safety behaviours to prevent injury and illness. Future research needs to determine whether the emphasis children place on risk minimisation is shaping how young children speak about health and how this interaction plays out in their health behaviour.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A