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Information for parents

We would like to invite your family to take part in a research study aiming to explore primary school aged children’s (4 to 11 years old) eating habits. We want you to understand why the research is being done and what it involves before deciding whether or not to take part in this study. Please take time to read the following information and contact us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like further information.

Why have I been contacted about this study?

We randomly selected your children’s primary school from a national database of schools held by the Department for Education. We asked your school to send the study information flyer to all the parents in their school inviting them to take part in our study.

How do we take part?

To take part, we are looking for parents who live within the four London boroughs of Croydon, Haringay, Greenwich and Southwark. You can register your interest by visiting or you can call our Freephone team on 0800 652 4568. When you register, we will ask you to please provide:

  • the name of the school your child or children attend,
  • your name, your address, your telephone number, your email address and the sex, age (month/year) and ethnicity of all the primary school aged children in your household.

You will need to register by 31st December 2021.

Do I have to take part?

No. It is completely up to you whether you and your family take part in this study.

Even if you agree to take part in this study, you are still free to change your mind at any time and leave the study. Leaving the study will not affect you or your family in any way. To withdraw some or all of your responses, you can contact us using the contact details provided on this page. Please note however that once your anonymised data has been finalised and combined with that of others, it cannot be deleted. This is because this data may already form part of the data in publications.

What is the study about?

This study is part of a programme of research to find out more about what local authorities are currently doing to support healthy eating in primary school aged children. As part of this research we want to learn more about child and family eating habits, availability of different foods and food likes and dislikes.

Do I get anything for taking part?

As a thank you for taking part, you will receive a £30 Love2Shop shopping voucher which can be spent at many online and high street shops. At the end of the study we will also give you some top tips about children’s eating.

Why should I take part?

By taking part, you will help us understand how and what children are eating and provide important information to help create a healthier nation. This information will be used by the Government and local authorities to improve the health of children.

What will happen if I take part?

If you register your interest and are selected to take part, you will receive a letter in the post in the next few months. An interviewer from NatCen Social Research will then contact you to arrange a convenient time for you to complete the interview.

If you have not received a letter by April 2022, then this will mean that unfortunately you were not selected to take part. Thank you very much for your interest in the study.

What is involved?

The interview will last about 60 minutes. The interviewer will ask you some questions about your family life, your child’s eating habits and their food likes and dislikes. The interviewer will also ask to take the height and weight measurements of one of your primary school aged children.

If you complete the interview over the phone then your interviewer will ask you to take the height and weight measurements of your child before they call you to complete the interview. They will give you a measuring tape and instructions. For measuring your child’s weight we ask that you use your own weighing scales. If you do not own a set of weighing scales then you can take them to your GP or a local Boots or pharmacy to have them weighed for free. If this is not possible you can provide an estimate of your child’s weight.

What if English is not my first or preferred language?

We really want to hear from you even if English is not your first or preferred language. If you would like to take part, but need some help with the interview, a friend or family member can translate the interview for you whilst the interviewer is there.

Are there any risks involved?

There are minimal risks of this research to you and your family. Your family’s participation in the study is voluntary, and you are able to leave the study at any time.

What will happen to the information I give?

The information (your data) you give us will be held by NatCen Social Research and City, University of London and stored securely.

We will treat your information in the strictest confidence and we will handle your data in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

You can request that your identifiable data (e.g. your name and contact details) is deleted at any time, by using the contact details provided on this page.

Access to any identifiable information will be restricted to those from NatCen Social Research and City, University of London who are working on this study.

How long will you keep my data for?

City, University of London would like to keep your information from the study for at least 10 years, so researchers can make use of it for many years to come. A copy of the survey dataset which does not include information that could directly identify you is created.

Researchers can apply to use this data for future research and they will need to meet strict data governance standards.

What will happen to the findings?

We are hoping that around 700 families will take part in this study. The answers you give will be put together with the answers collected from everyone else and researchers will look at (analyse) everybody’s information to understand children’s eating habits and food likes and dislikes better. The findings will be published in a report. All findings are anonymised which means that it will not be possible to identify any participants from the published findings.

The findings will help local authorities in London to understand more about how and what children are eating.

You will be sent a summary of the findings, and they will also be made available on the study website:

In the future, City, University of London may want to contact you to invite you to take part in another study. We will only do this if you agree to this during your interview. If you are invited to take part in any future studies, you will be free to refuse if you do not want to take part.

Is the study confidential?

Yes. All data collected from children and families will remain anonymous and confidential and will not be shared beyond the Research team. The data will be used for statistical and research purposes only.

Who has reviewed the study?

This study has been reviewed and approved by City, University of London School of Health Sciences independent Research Ethics Committee (Reference no: ETH2021-0367).

What if I have any questions or concerns?

Your interviewer will be happy to answer any questions you have about the study.
If you have a complaint, have any further questions or wish to know more about this study, please contact NatCen Social Research by:
Freephone: 0800 652 4568
You can also visit
You can also complain formally through City, University of London by:
Phone: 020 7040 3040

Useful contacts

Here are contact details for organisations that you might find helpful:

Your GP

They will be able to provide help and advice. Your GP can also provide access to appropriate specialist services and local organisations.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice is a network of independent charities throughout the United Kingdom that give free, confidential information and advice to assist people with money, legal, housing and other problems.

0800 144 8848

Your local council

They can provide a range of services including support groups, food hubs, help lines and information. Details can be obtained from your GP, your local library, or the internet.

EatWell NHS

Healthy eating advice

The Trussell Trust

Supports a nationwide network of food banks and provides emergency food and support to those who need it.


Confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue.

0170 8765 200


Supports people who have or are worried they have an eating disorder, as well as others affected, such as friends and family members.

0808 801 0677

Coronavirus information

You can get information, advice and support from the UK Government regarding coronavirus at this website:

British Nutrition Foundation

Information for people who want to find out more about healthy eating