Critical periods, feeding practices, lifestyle and environmental influences on young children's food acceptance, intake patterns and future eating habits - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2013

Critical periods, feeding practices, lifestyle and environmental influences on young children's food acceptance, intake patterns and future eating habits


Vegetable is the food category which is the least liked by children. As liking is the main determinant of food consumption in children and as early eating habits track on during childhood and up to adulthood, it is particularly important to identify the early determinants of vegetable acceptance. During this presentation, results of studies based on experimental and/or observational approaches and exploring the impact of breastfeeding, timing of introduction, variety of complementary foods, and parental practices on vegetable acceptance or intake will be presented. Experimental approaches have shown that breastfeeding facilitates the initial acceptance of new foods introduced in the infants’ diet1,2. Two mechanisms could explain this higher initial acceptance by breastfed infants compared to formula fed infants. The first one is flavour learning due to maternal dietary intake, and thus to the exposure via mother’s milk3. The second one is variety learning due to the daily variation of mother’s milk flavour compared to the stable flavour of formula milks4. In the Opaline* cohort of more than 300 mother-infant pairs recruited in the Dijon area (France), no effect of breastfeeding was observed on the acceptance of novel vegetables offered during the first months of introduction of complementary foods5. Within the HabEat project* data from four European cohorts, the British Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), the French EDEN study, the Portuguese Generation XXI Birth Cohort, and the Greek EUROPREVALL study, were analysed. Breastfeeding duration was positively associated with later vegetable intake during childhood. This relationship between breastfeeding and later vegetable intake was observed even when the model was adjusted for maternal age, maternal education, and maternal own fruit and vegetables intake6. Analyses conducted on the same data revealed that association with the age of introduction to vegetables was less consistent across the cohorts than the association with breastfeeding. Within the Opaline cohort no significant difference in acceptance of new vegetables was observed between the infants weaned before 6 months and those weaned after 6 months5. Concerning texture, children introduced to lumpy solids after the age of 9 months ate, at seven years, less of many of the food groups, including fruits and vegetables, than those introduced to lumpy foods between 6 and 9 months7. Moreover, it was found that familiarity with different textures, especially chopped foods, was the strongest predictor of intake and liking of chopped carrots for 12-month old infants8. Different experimental studies revealed that early exposure to a variety of vegetables induces a higher acceptance of the new vegetables presented to the infants1,9. This positive association between early variety and vegetable acceptance during the first months of complementary feeding was also observed within Opaline5. At the weaning stage, an intervention aiming at offering infants a variety of vegetables was most effective in the UK, a country where mothers rarely offer vegetables as a first food10. Some parental feeding practices were found to be associated with vegetable liking at 2 years within the Opaline cohort11: the more the mothers were permissive the lower the children’s vegetable liking, and the more the mothers used reward, the higher the children’s vegetable acceptance. A permissive style and practices to fulfil child’s desires, as well as an authoritarian style, contingent (i.e. use of reward) and coercive practices aimed at forcing children to taste rejected foods, were associated positively with children’s eating difficulties12. Thus, these results on using rewards are contradictory as those from other studies which have shown either a positive or a negative association on food acceptance. However, recent studies suggest that the use of non-food rewards or praise can be effective in encouraging children to taste new or less liked foods13,14. This is quite important to initiate tasting as many studies have shown the effectiveness of repeated exposure for increasing vegetable intake15-19 even for a disliked vegetable. In infants, it was observed that after 7 exposures a vegetable, initially considered by mothers as disliked by their infant, was consumed as much as an initially liked vegetable20. However, a survey conducted in one French city and in one German city indicated that most mothers offered a food that they considered as disliked by their infant no more than at three meals before giving up and deciding not to offer it again21. To conclude some early determinants of healthy eating habits such as vegetable intake have been clearly identified. On the basis of these results it should be possible to give some recommendations concerning in particular weaning practices. References 1Maier, A., Chabanet, C., Schaal, B., Leathwood, P. & Issanchou, S. Breastfeeding and experience with variety early in weaning increase infants’ acceptance of new foods for up to two months. Clin. Nutr. 27, 849-57 (2008). 2Sullivan, S. & Birch, L. Infant dietary experience and acceptance of solid foods. Pediatrics 93, 271-7 (1994). 3Mennella, J., Jagnow, C. & Beauchamp, G. Prenatal and postnatal flavor learning by human infants. Pediatrics 107, e88 (2001). 4Hausner, H., Nicklaus, S., Issanchou, S., Mølgaard, C. & Møller, P. Breastfeeding facilitates acceptance of a novel dietary flavour compound. Clin. Nutr. 29, 141-8 (2010). 5Lange, C. et al. Maternal feeding practices during the first year and their impact on infants’ acceptance of complementary food. Food Qual. Pref. 29, 89-98 (2013). 6de Lauzon-Guillain, B. et al. The influence of early feeding practices on fruit and vegetable intake among preschool children in four European birth cohorts. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (in revision). 7Coulthard, H., Harris, G. & Emmett, P. Delayed introduction of lumpy foods to children during the complementary feeding period affects child's food acceptance and feeding at 7 years of age. Matern. Child Nutr. 5, 75-85 (2009). 8Blossfeld, I., Collins, A., Kiely, M. & Delahunty, C. Texture preferences of 12-month-old infants and the role of early experiences. Food Qual. Pref. 18, 396-404 (2007). 9Gerrish, C. & Mennella, J. Flavor variety enhances food acceptance in formula-fed infants. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 73, 1080-85 (2001). 10Fildes, A. & Cooke, L. In Feeding Disorders Conference, UCL Institute of Child Health, London (UK), 6-7 November 2012. 11Nicklaus, S. et al. In Workshop Opaline: Understanding the early development of food preferences and eating behaviour in children, Dijon (FR), 18-19 October 2012. 12Rigal, N., Chabanet, C., Issanchou, S. & Monnery-Patris, S. Links between maternal feeding practices and children’s eating difficulties. Validation of French tools. Appetite 58, 629–37 (2012). 13Cooke, L. et al. Eating for pleasure or profit. Psychol. Sci. 22, 190-6 (2011). 14Remington, A., Anez, E., Croker, H., Wardle, J. & Cooke, L. Increasing food acceptance in the home setting: a randomized controlled trial of parent-administered taste exposure with incentives. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 95, 72-77 (2012). 15Anzman-Frasca, S., Savage, J., Marini, M., Fisher, J. & Birch, L. Repeated exposure and associative conditioning promote preschool children’s liking of vegetables. Appetite 58, 543-53 (2012). 16Caton, S. et al. Repetition counts: repeated exposure increases intake of a novel vegetable in UK pre-school children compared to flavour–flavour and flavour–nutrient learning. Br J Nutr FirstView, 1-9, doi:10.1017/S0007114512004126 (2012). 17de Wild, V., de Graaf, C. & Jager, G. Effectiveness of flavour nutrient learning and mere exposure as mechanisms to increase toddler’s intake and preference for green vegetables. Appetite 64, 89-96 (2013). 18Hausner, H., Olsen, A. & Møller, P. Mere exposure and flavour–flavour learning increase 2–3 year-old children’s acceptance of a novel vegetable. Appetite 58, 1152-9 (2012). 19Remy, E., Issanchou, S., Chabanet, C. & Nicklaus, S. Repeated exposure of infants at complementary feeding to a vegetable purée increases acceptance as effectively as flavor-flavor learning and more effectively than flavor-nutrient learning. J. Nutr. (in press). 20Maier, A., Chabanet, C., Schaal, B., Issanchou, S. & Leathwood, P. Effects of repeated exposure on acceptance of initially disliked vegetables in 7-month old infants. Food Qual. Pref. 18, 1023-32 (2007). 21Maier, A., Chabanet, C., Schaal, B., Leathwood, P. & Issanchou, S. Food-related sensory experience from birth through weaning: Contrasted patterns in two nearby European regions. Appetite 49, 429-40 (2007).
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hal-01512021 , version 1 (06-06-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-01512021 , version 1
  • PRODINRA : 368430


Sylvie Issanchou. Critical periods, feeding practices, lifestyle and environmental influences on young children's food acceptance, intake patterns and future eating habits. EU-US Task Force on Biotechnology Research symposium on Understanding Nutrition-Related Consumer Behavior: Strategies to promote a lifetime of healthy food choices, May 2013, Ghent, Belgium. 2 p. ⟨hal-01512021⟩
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