Whole-Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPD); Childhood Obesity Epidemic; Nutrition; Pediatric Medicine; Diet Content; Public Health


The obesity epidemic is widespread in American society, often affecting children who bear its consequences innocently. Due to a lack of nutrition knowledge, children rely on caregivers to meet their nutritional needs and instill healthy habits. This study examines parents' attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors, as well as perceived barriers to adopting a whole-foods plant-based diet (WFPD) for their children. Using a modified survey instrument by Morton et al., this study focused on parents and children regarding dietary choices. Participants were recruited from the waiting area of a pediatric clinic at the Medical College of Georgia between April and May 2023. They completed paper surveys assessing beliefs about whole-foods plant-based diet knowledge and suitability, and identifying barriers to adoption. Among the 48 participants, with children averaging 7.5 years old, 69% were familiar with WFPD health benefits, and 17% had past or current involvement with a whole-foods plant-based diet. Likert scale scores determined confidence intervals for opinions on whole-foods plant-based diet barriers, adoption, and nutritional knowledge. Kendall’s tau-b correlation tests uncovered significant connections between perceived barriers, demographics, and understanding of whole-foods plant-based diets. A Spearman’s rank-order test found no correlation between a parent's assessment of their child's health and whole-foods plant-based diet engagement. Many parents didn't perceive significant hurdles to WFPD adoption and expressed readiness to embrace its benefits for their children, pending guidance from healthcare professionals and assistance with shopping and meal preparation. Openings toward solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic exist if stakeholders would reach out and take advantage of the most impactful methods of educating the public in terms of the benefits and successes of a whole-foods plant-based diet.

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Chiarelli, Tina


College of Medicine


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Thesis Discipline

Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus Access


Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus



Rights Statement

In Copyright