Abstract| Volume 45, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S6, July 2013

Design and Pilot Testing of a Cultural Appropriate Evaluation Tool for Elementary School Children’s Food Preferences


      To design and pilot test a food preferences evaluation tool in children from first to third grade.

      Target audience

      Children from first to third grade at a public school in San José, Costa Rica.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale

      Theory of psychoanalysis-using games as a technic for expressing true desires and feelings of children.


      Food preferences play an important role in the development of eating habits. In order to better assess food preferences, a cultural and age appropriate innovative instrument was designed. This tool contains 55 foods and is applied to the child through a game strategy. The selection of the foods was based on the results of previous investigations on food frequency consumption. The food items in the formulary were colored photographs with its name above, which were carefully identified to the child before they started selecting their favorite ones.


      The instrument was applied by trained personnel (n=310) and in order to measure the level of preference of each item, a color and numeric (0, 1, 2) scale was established. The main limitation of the tool was selecting the foods to include in each mealtime and finding a clear photograph to illustrate each item.

      Conclusions and Implications

      This is a first approach towards the evaluation of food preferences of Latin American children with a unique delivery method. Next steps include psychometric testing and measures validity and reliability. This tool can be used as an input for future investigations related to children’s food preferences and eating habits.