The ‘wonderfulness’ of children’s feeding programs
Williams PL, McIntyre L, Dayle JB, Raine K. Health Promot Int. 2003 Jun;18(2):163-70.
When people involved in children’s feeding programs were asked to describe them, without exception they were described using phrases that reflected the perception of ‘wonderfulness’. This paper critically analyses the ‘wonderfulness’ of children’s feeding programs by examining the language used to describe these programs, and the features of a ‘wonderful’ program through an analysis of a multi-site, qualitative case study of nine diverse programs in Atlantic Canada. When participants justified their comments about the ‘wonderfulness’ of children’s feeding programs, they did so based upon five perceptions of program strengths: enhanced family coping; providing good food and nutrition; socializing and making friends; behaving well in school; and volunteerism. We suggest that programs can be designed to be innately ‘wonderful’ if they are community- and charity-based, support a noble cause such as the elimination of child hunger, engage good people as donors and volunteers, and provide a direct service to children apart from their families. We challenge health promoters to beware of the ‘wonderful’ program; its ‘wonderfulness’ may actually be masking unintended negative impacts upon its participants.