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
Parental and Provider Perceptions of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Interventions in the First 1,000 Days: A Qualitative Study
Novel approaches to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption during the first 1,000 days – pregnancy through age 2 years – are urgently needed. This study examined perceptions of SSB consumption and acceptability of potential intervention strategies to promote SSB avoidance in low income families in the first 1,000 days. Themes … More
The Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Reducing Obesity among Young Children through Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Screen Time
Early childhood is an important period for interventions to prevent obesity, before poor diet and physical activity behaviors become entrenched and related chronic diseases develop. To date there are still few programs that have been evaluated using experimental study designs that demonstrate impacts on young children’s weight. As a result, … More