2016, 13(4): 841-855. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2016020

Modeling eating behaviors: The role of environment and positive food association learning via a Ratatouille effect

1. 

Simon A Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States, United States

2. 

Mathematics Department, Faculty of Science, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

3. 

Conditioned Feeding Lab, Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States, United States

Received  December 2015 Revised  December 2015 Published  May 2016

Eating behaviors among a large population of children are studied as a dynamic process driven by nonlinear interactions in the sociocultural school environment. The impact of food association learning on diet dynamics, inspired by a pilot study conducted among Arizona children in Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grades, is used to build simple population-level learning models. Qualitatively, mathematical studies are used to highlight the possible ramifications of instruction, learning in nutrition, and health at the community level. Model results suggest that nutrition education programs at the population-level have minimal impact on improving eating behaviors, findings that agree with prior field studies. Hence, the incorporation of food association learning may be a better strategy for creating resilient communities of healthy and non-healthy eaters. A Ratatouille effect can be observed when food association learners become food preference learners, a potential sustainable behavioral change, which in turn, may impact the overall distribution of healthy eaters. In short, this work evaluates the effectiveness of population-level intervention strategies and the importance of institutionalizing nutrition programs that factor in economical, social, cultural, and environmental elements that mesh well with the norms and values in the community.
Citation: Anarina L. Murillo, Muntaser Safan, Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Elizabeth D. Capaldi Phillips, Devina Wadhera. Modeling eating behaviors: The role of environment and positive food association learning via a Ratatouille effect. Mathematical Biosciences & Engineering, 2016, 13 (4) : 841-855. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2016020
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[2]

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L. L. Birch, Preschool children's food preferences and consumption patterns,, Journal of Nutrition Education, 11 (1979), 189.   Google Scholar

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L. L. Birch, S. I. Zimmerman and H. Hind, The influence of social-affective context on the formation of children's food preferences,, Child development, (1980), 856.   Google Scholar

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A. S. Birnbaum, L. A. Lytle, M. Story, C. L. Perry and D. M. Murray, Are differences in exposure to a multicomponent school-based intervention associated with varying dietary outcomes in adolescents?,, Health Education & Behavior, 29 (2002), 427.   Google Scholar

[8]

L. Blanchette and J. Brug, Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among 6-12-year-old children and effective interventions to increase consumption,, Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, 18 (2005), 431.   Google Scholar

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H. Boeing, A. Bechthold, A. Bub, S. Ellinger, D. Haller, A. Kroke, E. Leschik-Bonnet, M. J. Müller, H. Oberritter, M. Schulze and P. Stehle, Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases,, European journal of nutrition, 51 (2012), 637.   Google Scholar

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E. D. Capaldi-Phillips and D. Wadhera, Associative conditioning can increase liking for and consumption of brussels sprouts in children aged 3 to 5 years,, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114 (2014), 1236.   Google Scholar

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K. W. Cullen, T. Baranowski, E. Owens, T. Marsh, L. Rittenberry and C. de Moor, Availability, accessibility, and preferences for fruit, 100/100, Health Education & Behavior, 30 (2003), 615.   Google Scholar

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S. B. Domel, T. Baranowski, H. Davis, S. B. Leonard, P. Riley and J. Baranowski, Measuring fruit and vegetable preferences among 4th-and 5th-grade students,, Preventive medicine, 22 (1993), 866.   Google Scholar

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[23]

M. K. Fox, W. Hamilton and B. H. Lin, Effects of food assistance and nutrition programs on health and nutrition,, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report, (2004).   Google Scholar

[24]

L. M. Frerichs, O. M. Araz and T. T. K. Huang, Modeling social transmission dynamics of unhealthy behaviors for evaluating prevention and treatment interventions on childhood obesity,, PloS one, 8 (2013).   Google Scholar

[25]

P. Gleason and C. Suitor, Children's diets in the mid-1990s: Dietary intake and its relationship with school meal participation, special nutrition programs,, Mathematica Policy Research, (2001).   Google Scholar

[26]

G. Gonzalez-Parra, L. Jodar, F. J. Santonja and R. J. Villanueva, An age-structured model for childhood obesity,, Mathematical Population Studies, 17 (2010), 1.  doi: 10.1080/07481180903467218.  Google Scholar

[27]

A. J. Howard, K. M. Mallan, R. Byrne, A. Magarey and L. A. Daniels, Toddlers' food preferences. the impact of novel food exposure, maternal preferences and food neophobia,, Appetite, 59 (2012), 818.   Google Scholar

[28]

L. Jódar, F. J. Santonja and G. González-Parra, Modeling dynamics of infant obesity in the region of Valencia, Spain,, Computers & Mathematics with Applications, 56 (2008), 679.  doi: 10.1016/j.camwa.2008.01.011.  Google Scholar

[29]

K. M. Kaphingst and S. French, The role of schools in obesity prevention,, The Future of Children, 16 (2006), 109.   Google Scholar

[30]

D. L. Katz, School-based interventions for health promotion and weight control: Not just waiting on the world to change,, Annual review of public health, 30 (2009), 253.  doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.031308.100307.  Google Scholar

[31]

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[32]

M. Lipkin, B. Reddy, H. Newmark and S. A. Lamprecht, Dietary factors in human colorectal cancer,, Annual review of nutrition, 19 (1999), 545.  doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.19.1.545.  Google Scholar

[33]

C. F. Lowe, P. J. Horne, K. Tapper, M. Bowdery and C. Egerton, Effects of a peer modelling and rewards-based intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children,, European journal of clinical nutrition, 58 (2004), 510.  doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601838.  Google Scholar

[34]

L. Lytle and C. Achterberg, Changing the diet of america's children: What works and why?,, Journal of Nutrition Education, 27 (1995), 250.  doi: 10.1016/S0022-3182(12)80793-X.  Google Scholar

[35]

K. R. McLeroy, D. Bibeau, A. Steckler and K. Glanz, An ecological perspective on health promotion programs,, Health Education & Behavior, 15 (1988), 351.   Google Scholar

[36]

A. R. Ness and J. W. Powles, Fruit and vegetables, and cardiovascular disease: A review,, International Journal of epidemiology, 26 (1997), 1.  doi: 10.1093/ije/26.1.1.  Google Scholar

[37]

C. Ogden and M. Carroll, Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States,, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008 (US Centers for Disease Control, (2010), 1963.   Google Scholar

[38]

C. L. Ogden, M. D. Carroll, B. K. Kit and K. M. Flegal, Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the united states, 2011-2012,, Jama, 311 (2014), 806.   Google Scholar

[39]

C. Pérez-Rodrigo and J. Aranceta, School-based nutrition education: Lessons learned and new perspectives,, Public Health Nutrition, 4 (2001), 131.   Google Scholar

[40]

C. Perez-Rodrigo and J. Aranceta, Nutrition education in schools: experiences and challenges,, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57 (2003).  doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601824.  Google Scholar

[41]

C. L. Perry, D. B. Bishop, G. L. Taylor, M. Davis, M. Story, C. Gray, S. C. Bishop, R. A. W. Mays, L. A. Lytle and L. Harnack, A randomized school trial of environmental strategies to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption among children,, Health education & behavior, 31 (2004), 65.   Google Scholar

[42]

S. A. Pyle, J. Sharkey, G. Yetter, E. Felix, M. J. Furlong and W. S. Poston, Fighting an epidemic: The role of schools in reducing childhood obesity,, Psychology in the Schools, 43 (2006), 361.  doi: 10.1002/pits.20146.  Google Scholar

[43]

J. J. Reilly and J. Kelly, Long-term impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence on morbidity and premature mortality in adulthood: systematic review,, International journal of obesity, 35 (2011), 891.  doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.222.  Google Scholar

[44]

M. Safan, H. Heesterbeek and K. Dietz, The minimum effort required to eradicate infections in models with backward bifurcation,, Journal of mathematical biology, 53 (2006), 703.  doi: 10.1007/s00285-006-0028-8.  Google Scholar

[45]

M. Story, K. M. Kaphingst, R. Robinson-O'Brien and K. Glanz, Creating healthy food and eating environments: Policy and environmental approaches,, Annu. Rev. Public Health, 29 (2008), 253.  doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.020907.090926.  Google Scholar

[46]

M. Story, D. Neumark-Sztainer and S. French, Individual and environmental influences on adolescent eating behaviors,, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102 (2002).  doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(02)90421-9.  Google Scholar

[47]

S. A. Sullivan and L. L. Birch, Pass the sugar, pass the salt: Experience dictates preference,, Developmental psychology, 26 (1990), 546.  doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.26.4.546.  Google Scholar

[48]

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service, Nutrition assistance programs,, website: , (2014).   Google Scholar

[49]

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Choosemyplate.gov Website. Washington, DC,, website: , (2015).   Google Scholar

[50]

K. Van Der Horst, A. Oenema, I. Ferreira, W. Wendel-Vos, K. Giskes, F. van Lenthe and J. Brug, A systematic review of environmental correlates of obesity-related dietary behaviors in youth,, Health education research, 22 (2007), 203.   Google Scholar

[51]

D. Wadhera, E. D. C. Phillips and L. M. Wilkie, Teaching children to like and eat vegetables,, Appetite, 93 (2015), 75.  doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.06.016.  Google Scholar

[52]

D. Wadhera, E. D. C. Phillips, L. M. Wilkie and M. M. Boggess, Perceived recollection of frequent exposure to foods in childhood is associated with adulthood liking,, Appetite, 89 (2015), 22.  doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.01.011.  Google Scholar

[53]

D. Wadhera, E. D. C. Phillips and A. L. Murillo, A Pilot, School-based Intervention for Increasing Vegetable Selection and Consumption: A Novelty Effect?,, manuscript in progress., ().   Google Scholar

show all references

References:
[1]

American Diabetes Association (ADA), Statement. Promoting Healthy Eating Behaviors: The Role of School Environments,, Washington, (1999).   Google Scholar

[2]

Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Summary, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Research and Development,, website: , (2012).   Google Scholar

[3]

A. S. Ammerman, C. H. Lindquist, K. N. Lohr and J. Hershey, The efficacy of behavioral interventions to modify dietary fat and fruit and vegetable intake: a review of the evidence,, Preventive medicine, 35 (2002), 25.   Google Scholar

[4]

L. L. Birch, The role of experience in children's food acceptance patterns,, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 87 (1987), 36.   Google Scholar

[5]

L. L. Birch, Preschool children's food preferences and consumption patterns,, Journal of Nutrition Education, 11 (1979), 189.   Google Scholar

[6]

L. L. Birch, S. I. Zimmerman and H. Hind, The influence of social-affective context on the formation of children's food preferences,, Child development, (1980), 856.   Google Scholar

[7]

A. S. Birnbaum, L. A. Lytle, M. Story, C. L. Perry and D. M. Murray, Are differences in exposure to a multicomponent school-based intervention associated with varying dietary outcomes in adolescents?,, Health Education & Behavior, 29 (2002), 427.   Google Scholar

[8]

L. Blanchette and J. Brug, Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among 6-12-year-old children and effective interventions to increase consumption,, Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, 18 (2005), 431.   Google Scholar

[9]

G. Block, B. Patterson and A. Subar, Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: A review of the epidemiological evidence,, Nutrition and cancer, 18 (1992), 1.   Google Scholar

[10]

H. Boeing, A. Bechthold, A. Bub, S. Ellinger, D. Haller, A. Kroke, E. Leschik-Bonnet, M. J. Müller, H. Oberritter, M. Schulze and P. Stehle, Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases,, European journal of nutrition, 51 (2012), 637.   Google Scholar

[11]

United States Census Bureau (USCB), State and County QuickFacts. Data derived from Population Estimates,, website: , (2015).   Google Scholar

[12]

E. D. Capaldi, Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating,, American Psychological Association, (1996).   Google Scholar

[13]

E. D. Capaldi-Phillips and D. Wadhera, Associative conditioning can increase liking for and consumption of brussels sprouts in children aged 3 to 5 years,, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114 (2014), 1236.   Google Scholar

[14]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs, Progress on children eating more fruit, not vegetables,, website: , (2014), 2014.   Google Scholar

[15]

L. Cooke, The importance of exposure for healthy eating in childhood: A review,, Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, 20 (2007), 294.   Google Scholar

[16]

K. W. Cullen, T. Baranowski, E. Owens, T. Marsh, L. Rittenberry and C. de Moor, Availability, accessibility, and preferences for fruit, 100/100, Health Education & Behavior, 30 (2003), 615.   Google Scholar

[17]

K. W. Cullen, L. K. Bartholomew, G. S. Parcel and L. Koehly, Measuring stage of change for fruit and vegetable consumption in 9-to-12-year-old girls,, Journal of behavioral medicine, 21 (1998), 241.   Google Scholar

[18]

S. B. Domel, T. Baranowski, H. Davis, S. B. Leonard, P. Riley and J. Baranowski, Measuring fruit and vegetable preferences among 4th-and 5th-grade students,, Preventive medicine, 22 (1993), 866.   Google Scholar

[19]

T. M. Dovey, P. A. Staples, E. L. Gibson and J. C. Halford, Food neophobia and "picky/fussy" eating in children: A review,, Appetite, 50 (2008), 181.   Google Scholar

[20]

A. M. Evangelista, A. R. Ortiz, K. R. Rios-Soto and A. Urdapilleta, USA the fast food nation: Obesity as an epidemic,, Los Alamos National Laboratory, (2004).   Google Scholar

[21]

G. A. Falciglia, S. C. Couch, L. S. Gribble, S. M. Pabst and R. Frank, Food neophobia in childhood affects dietary variety,, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 (2000), 1474.   Google Scholar

[22]

J. O. Fisher, J. A. Mennella, S. O. Hughes, Y. Liu, P. M. Mendoza and H. Patrick, Offering "dip" promotes intake of a moderately-liked raw vegetable among preschoolers with genetic sensitivity to bitterness,, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112 (2012), 235.   Google Scholar

[23]

M. K. Fox, W. Hamilton and B. H. Lin, Effects of food assistance and nutrition programs on health and nutrition,, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report, (2004).   Google Scholar

[24]

L. M. Frerichs, O. M. Araz and T. T. K. Huang, Modeling social transmission dynamics of unhealthy behaviors for evaluating prevention and treatment interventions on childhood obesity,, PloS one, 8 (2013).   Google Scholar

[25]

P. Gleason and C. Suitor, Children's diets in the mid-1990s: Dietary intake and its relationship with school meal participation, special nutrition programs,, Mathematica Policy Research, (2001).   Google Scholar

[26]

G. Gonzalez-Parra, L. Jodar, F. J. Santonja and R. J. Villanueva, An age-structured model for childhood obesity,, Mathematical Population Studies, 17 (2010), 1.  doi: 10.1080/07481180903467218.  Google Scholar

[27]

A. J. Howard, K. M. Mallan, R. Byrne, A. Magarey and L. A. Daniels, Toddlers' food preferences. the impact of novel food exposure, maternal preferences and food neophobia,, Appetite, 59 (2012), 818.   Google Scholar

[28]

L. Jódar, F. J. Santonja and G. González-Parra, Modeling dynamics of infant obesity in the region of Valencia, Spain,, Computers & Mathematics with Applications, 56 (2008), 679.  doi: 10.1016/j.camwa.2008.01.011.  Google Scholar

[29]

K. M. Kaphingst and S. French, The role of schools in obesity prevention,, The Future of Children, 16 (2006), 109.   Google Scholar

[30]

D. L. Katz, School-based interventions for health promotion and weight control: Not just waiting on the world to change,, Annual review of public health, 30 (2009), 253.  doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.031308.100307.  Google Scholar

[31]

D. G. Liem and C. De Graaf, Sweet and sour preferences in young children and adults: Role of repeated exposure,, Physiology & behavior, 83 (2004), 421.  doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.08.028.  Google Scholar

[32]

M. Lipkin, B. Reddy, H. Newmark and S. A. Lamprecht, Dietary factors in human colorectal cancer,, Annual review of nutrition, 19 (1999), 545.  doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.19.1.545.  Google Scholar

[33]

C. F. Lowe, P. J. Horne, K. Tapper, M. Bowdery and C. Egerton, Effects of a peer modelling and rewards-based intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children,, European journal of clinical nutrition, 58 (2004), 510.  doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601838.  Google Scholar

[34]

L. Lytle and C. Achterberg, Changing the diet of america's children: What works and why?,, Journal of Nutrition Education, 27 (1995), 250.  doi: 10.1016/S0022-3182(12)80793-X.  Google Scholar

[35]

K. R. McLeroy, D. Bibeau, A. Steckler and K. Glanz, An ecological perspective on health promotion programs,, Health Education & Behavior, 15 (1988), 351.   Google Scholar

[36]

A. R. Ness and J. W. Powles, Fruit and vegetables, and cardiovascular disease: A review,, International Journal of epidemiology, 26 (1997), 1.  doi: 10.1093/ije/26.1.1.  Google Scholar

[37]

C. Ogden and M. Carroll, Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States,, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008 (US Centers for Disease Control, (2010), 1963.   Google Scholar

[38]

C. L. Ogden, M. D. Carroll, B. K. Kit and K. M. Flegal, Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the united states, 2011-2012,, Jama, 311 (2014), 806.   Google Scholar

[39]

C. Pérez-Rodrigo and J. Aranceta, School-based nutrition education: Lessons learned and new perspectives,, Public Health Nutrition, 4 (2001), 131.   Google Scholar

[40]

C. Perez-Rodrigo and J. Aranceta, Nutrition education in schools: experiences and challenges,, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57 (2003).  doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601824.  Google Scholar

[41]

C. L. Perry, D. B. Bishop, G. L. Taylor, M. Davis, M. Story, C. Gray, S. C. Bishop, R. A. W. Mays, L. A. Lytle and L. Harnack, A randomized school trial of environmental strategies to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption among children,, Health education & behavior, 31 (2004), 65.   Google Scholar

[42]

S. A. Pyle, J. Sharkey, G. Yetter, E. Felix, M. J. Furlong and W. S. Poston, Fighting an epidemic: The role of schools in reducing childhood obesity,, Psychology in the Schools, 43 (2006), 361.  doi: 10.1002/pits.20146.  Google Scholar

[43]

J. J. Reilly and J. Kelly, Long-term impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence on morbidity and premature mortality in adulthood: systematic review,, International journal of obesity, 35 (2011), 891.  doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.222.  Google Scholar

[44]

M. Safan, H. Heesterbeek and K. Dietz, The minimum effort required to eradicate infections in models with backward bifurcation,, Journal of mathematical biology, 53 (2006), 703.  doi: 10.1007/s00285-006-0028-8.  Google Scholar

[45]

M. Story, K. M. Kaphingst, R. Robinson-O'Brien and K. Glanz, Creating healthy food and eating environments: Policy and environmental approaches,, Annu. Rev. Public Health, 29 (2008), 253.  doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.020907.090926.  Google Scholar

[46]

M. Story, D. Neumark-Sztainer and S. French, Individual and environmental influences on adolescent eating behaviors,, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102 (2002).  doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(02)90421-9.  Google Scholar

[47]

S. A. Sullivan and L. L. Birch, Pass the sugar, pass the salt: Experience dictates preference,, Developmental psychology, 26 (1990), 546.  doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.26.4.546.  Google Scholar

[48]

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service, Nutrition assistance programs,, website: , (2014).   Google Scholar

[49]

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Choosemyplate.gov Website. Washington, DC,, website: , (2015).   Google Scholar

[50]

K. Van Der Horst, A. Oenema, I. Ferreira, W. Wendel-Vos, K. Giskes, F. van Lenthe and J. Brug, A systematic review of environmental correlates of obesity-related dietary behaviors in youth,, Health education research, 22 (2007), 203.   Google Scholar

[51]

D. Wadhera, E. D. C. Phillips and L. M. Wilkie, Teaching children to like and eat vegetables,, Appetite, 93 (2015), 75.  doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.06.016.  Google Scholar

[52]

D. Wadhera, E. D. C. Phillips, L. M. Wilkie and M. M. Boggess, Perceived recollection of frequent exposure to foods in childhood is associated with adulthood liking,, Appetite, 89 (2015), 22.  doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.01.011.  Google Scholar

[53]

D. Wadhera, E. D. C. Phillips and A. L. Murillo, A Pilot, School-based Intervention for Increasing Vegetable Selection and Consumption: A Novelty Effect?,, manuscript in progress., ().   Google Scholar

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