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Appetite. 2011 Aug;57(1):167-72. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.04.012. Epub 2011 Apr 29.

Maternal feeding practices predict fruit and vegetable consumption in young children. Results of a 12-month longitudinal study.

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School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia.


This study aimed to explore the prospective relationship between maternal feeding practices and young children's frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables and sweets, and also child weight-for-height z-scores. Participants were 60 mothers who completed questionnaires when their children were 1 year old and again when their children were 2 years old. Regression analyses were performed. After controlling for availability and prior child consumption of the target food, maternal use of pressure to eat at 1 year predicted lower child frequency of fruit consumption at 2 years and approached significance for lower vegetable consumption. Maternal modelling of healthy eating at 1 year predicted higher child frequency of vegetable consumption at 2 years. Restriction did not significantly predict child frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables or sweets over time. Child weight-for-height scores at 2 years were predicted by weight-for-height at 1 year but not by feeding practices. The findings suggest that maternal feeding practices can influence child eating at a very young age. Interventions should focus on encouraging parents to model healthy eating to promote healthy eating in children.

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