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 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 review 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.
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 issue brief is based on a narrative review, published in Obesity Reviews, on how … More
The Academic, Behavioral, and Health Influence of Summer Child Nutrition Programs: A Narrative Review and Proposed Research and Policy Agenda
Since 1975, the US Department of Agriculture has sponsored the Summer Food Service Program as a nationwide strategy for providing nutritious meals to children and youth (aged 18 years or younger) in low-income communities during the summer months. Many programs are sponsored by community organizations as well as school districts … More
Engaging Fathers in Early Obesity Prevention During the First 1,000 Days: Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Strategies
Fathers are critical stakeholders in childhood obesity prevention but are difficult to engage. This review presents a new approach to engaging fathers in obesity prevention during the first 1,000 days. The review focuses on five existing health and social service programs, including prenatal care, pediatric care, the Special Supplemental Nutrition … More