Early childhood is a critical period for establishing a healthy diet and promoting healthy food preferences. Research in this area focuses on settings where children ages 0-5 spend their time, including preschools and child-care centers, as well as policies and practices that influence families’ ability to provide healthy foods and beverages in early childhood.

Research & Publications See all

November 2021

Changing Policies and Practices to Implement Beverage Consensus Recommendations

In 2018, Healthy Eating Research (HER)—a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)—developed a national research agenda to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) and increase access to and consumption of safe drinking water among 0- to 5-year-olds. Through this process, it became clear that a lack of consistent recommendations for beverage More

October 2021

Evidence-Based Recommendations and Best Practices for Promoting Healthy Eating Behaviors in Children 2 to 8 Years

Dietary recommendations are available about what to feed children ages 2 to 8 for optimal health, but relatively little guidance exists about how to feed those children. Because of the discrepancy between young children’s recommended and actual dietary intakes, there is a clear need for such guidance. To address this gap, Healthy Eating Research convened More

August 2021

Caregiver Feeding Practices as Predictors for Child Dietary Intake in Low-Income, Appalachian Communities

The Appalachian region of the U.S. is disproportionately impacted by poverty, obesity, and nutrition-related chronic diseases. Evidence suggests that caregiver feeding practices may promote healthful eating behaviors among children; however, this has not been examined in low-income, rural, Appalachian populations. This study examines caregiver feeding practices as predictors for child diet in low-income Appalachian families, More

June 2021

Promoting Responsive Bottle-Feeding Within WIC: Evaluation of a Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Approach

Bottle-fed infants are at greater risk for overfeeding and rapid weight gain (RWG), so evidence-based strategies for promoting healthy bottle-feeding practices are needed. The aim of this study was to assess whether policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies for promoting responsive bottle-feeding practices within the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) More