Published: February 2023

Journal: Nutrients

Authors: Harris JL, Romo-Palafox MJ, Gershman H, Kagan I, Duffy V

See more related research


Despite expert recommendations, most toddlers consume sugary drinks and more sweet and salty snack foods than fruits and vegetables as snacks. Studies have examined toddler caregivers’ reasons for providing sugary drinks, but few have examined the reasons for providing nutritionally poor snack foods. Researchers conducted focus groups in one low-income community to assess caregivers’ familiarity, understanding and attitudes regarding healthy drink and snack recommendations for toddlers. A convenience sample of 24 caregivers of toddlers (12–36 months) participated. Researchers conducted a descriptive analysis of the participants’ familiarity with recommendations and a thematic analysis of the barriers to adherence. Most participants were familiar with recommendations, but many were surprised that some drinks and snack foods are not recommended, and most believed recommendations were not realistic. Common barriers to adhering to recommendations included beliefs about their child’s innate preferences, family modeling and others’ provision of drinks and snacks in and outside the home. Practical barriers included the higher cost and inconvenience of serving fruits and vegetables on-the-go. Similar barriers limited caregivers’ adherence to expert recommendations about healthy snacks and drinks for toddlers. Nutrition education interventions should provide practical strategies for addressing these barriers and enlist childcare and health providers to reinforce recommendations.

Related Research

April 2024

Height and Weight Measurement and Communication With Families in Head Start: Developing a Toolkit and Establishing Best Practices

Head start (HS) programs are required to collect children’s height and weight data. Programs also communicate these results to families. However, no standardized protocol exists to guide measurements or communicate results. The purpose of this article was to describe the development of a measurement toolkit and best practices for communication. HS programs contributed to the More

November 2023

State Agency Perspectives on Successes and Challenges of Administering the Child and Adult Care Food Program

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) improves nutrition and reduces food insecurity for young children while helping cover food costs for care providers and families. Despite its important benefits, the program is underutilized. This report uses qualitative interviews with state CACFP administrators representing 28 states to explore federal and state policies and practices that support or discourage CACFP participation among licensed child More

November 2023

Supporting the Wake Forest School of Medicine in implementing a WIC referral program within electronic health records to optimize WIC participation

The United States has an ongoing maternal and infant health crisis, characterized by stark disparities. The WIC program could equitably improve health outcomes, but it is underutilized. Identifying strategies for healthcare systems to efficiently connect pregnant patients with WIC is a public health and policy priority. This study will use the electronic health record (EHR) More