Korean J Nutr.  2013 Feb;46(1):86-97. 10.4163/kjn.2013.46.1.86.

Elementary school children's perceptions of traditional Korean foods, based on the health belief model

  • 1Department of Practical Arts Education and Centre for Child Nutrition Education, Busan National University of Education, Busan 611-736, Korea. kalee@bnue.ac.kr


This study investigated the eating habits of elementary school children and their perceptions related to traditional Korean foods, based on the health belief model. The subjects were fifth grade elementary school children (274 boys and 274 girls) in eight Korean cities. The results were as follows: The children ate almost three meals per day and were grateful for their meals. However, they irregularly consumed meals and snacks. They tended to eat heartily and did not eat foods that they had not yet eaten. Their meals were based on rice and they have eaten kimchi and vegetables at almost every meal. However, they had undesirable habits in eating other foods, such as fruits, fish, soybeans, and sweet foods. They did not sensitively or seriously perceive their eating habits in relation to their health. They perceived that it was very good for their nutrition, health, and tastes to eat traditional Korean foods, and they had pride in traditional Korean foods and eating style. Although they expressed some difficulty regarding availability and preparation of traditional Korean foods, they hardly felt difficulty in eating them. They had high dietary self-efficacy with regard to eating these foods, except for two items of self-regulation. Their eating habits showed positive correlation with dietary self-efficacy, perceived susceptibility, and perceived benefit. In conclusion, eating habits of elementary school children in relation to traditional Korean foods are not desirable, but not serious. They did not sensitively or seriously perceive their eating habits in relation to their health. However, they perceived that it was very good for their nutrition and health to eat traditional Korean foods, did not have a high level of difficulty in eating them, and had high dietary self-efficacy with regard to eating them. Therefore, we suggest that children should be exposed to various traditional Korean foods, along with education about them, in order to enhance their concern and motivation to eat them.


health belief model; traditional Korean food; dietary self-efficacy; eating behavior; elementary school children

MeSH Terms

Feeding Behavior

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