Research Brief| Volume 50, ISSUE 10, P1032-1039, November 2018

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Parents Report Competing Priorities Influence Snack Choice in Youth Sports



      To describe parental perceptions of team snacks, factors that motivate snack choice, and perceptions of healthy snacking guidelines in youth sports.


      Six in-depth group interviews were conducted among parents (n = 22) of children aged 4–12 years in 2 Los Angeles County Baseball Little Leagues. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis.


      Parents perceived fruit as the ideal snack; this ideal was balanced with competing priorities, including children's preferences, cost, time, and social norms regarding snacks as rewards and team bonding. Although parents were supportive of promoting healthy snacks, they believed that snacking guidelines should not be mandated.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Developing messages that align with parents' motivations when choosing snacks could promote healthier snacking in youth sports. Future studies are warranted to explore drivers of snacking with a broader sample and to examine how to promote healthy snacks effectively.

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