Childhood is an especially important time to promote the acceptance of healthier foods given the oversaturation of unhealthy modern food environments, poor diet quality in young children, and the high prevalence of nutrition-related diseases in many nations. This issue brief is based on a narrative review, published in Obesity Reviews, on how children learn food preferences during the prenatal period, infancy, and early childhood (ages 2-5). The evidence suggests that children can learn preferences for foods before birth, and that food preferences are further influenced by tastes in breast milk and formula. Infants continue to learn to accept new tastes when they are introduced to other foods. Repeatedly offering a variety of healthy foods during infancy and throughout early childhood can have lasting effects on a child’s acceptance and consumption of healthy foods. The evidence from this brief can be used to help caregivers and practitioners promote the development of healthy food preferences early in life, as well as to inform the development of policies to support implementation of these practices in a variety of settings where young children spend time.
Getting Children to Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods Starts Early in Life
Promoting Healthy Food Preferences From the Start: A Narrative Review of Food Preference Learning From the Prenatal Period Through Early Childhood
Childhood is an especially important time to promote the acceptance of healthier foods given the oversaturation of unhealthy modern food environments, poor diet quality in young children, and the high prevalence of nutrition-related diseases in many nations. This review relies on a search of the literature from 2007 to 2016 … More
Breastfeeding protects against overweight and obesity, asthma, eczema, and type-II diabetes, and has long-term health benefits for women. The health benefits of breastfeeding are so valuable that in 1981, the World Health Organization established the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (WHO Code) that prohibits marketing infant formula to … More
Effect of a Home-Visiting Intervention to Reduce Early Childhood Obesity Among Native American Children
The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a brief home-visiting approach, Family Spirit Nurture (FSN), on sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption, responsive parenting and infant feeding practices, and optimal growth through 12 months post partum. This study was a 1:1 randomized clinical trial comparing FSN with an … More