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
Examining the Effects of Taxes and Warning Labels on Parents’ Purchases of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Using a Choice Experiment
The purpose of this study is to conduct a discrete choice experiment to investigate whether warning labels on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) alter the effectiveness of a tax on SSBs, especially among parents who are Black, Latinx and lower income. The research team will conduct an online choice experiment with 2,700 … More
SHIFT: Testing Culturally Appropriate Messaging for Black Community to Limit Children’s Sugary-Beverage Intake and Increase Water Consumption
The project’s goal is to conduct a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a culturally appropriate social behavior change communication campaign on sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and water consumption among black families with children aged 0-5 years. Specific aims include: (1) Deliver a culturally appropriate social behavior change communication … More