Parental modelling and prompting effects on acceptance of a novel fruit in 2-4 year old children are dependent on children’s food responsiveness

Jackie Blissett, Carmel Bennett, Anna Fogel, Gillian Greville-Harris, Suzanne Higgs

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35 Citations (Scopus)
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Few children consume the recommended portions of fruit or vegetables (FV). This study examined effects of parental physical prompting and parental modelling in children’s acceptance of a novel fruit (NF) and examined the role of children’s food approach and avoidance traits on NF engagement and consumption. 120 caregiver-child dyads (54 girls, 66 boys) participated in this study. Dyads were allocated to one of three conditions: physical prompting but no modelling, physical prompting and modelling, or a modelling only control condition. Dyads ate a standardised meal containing a portion of a fruit new to the child. Parents completed measures of children’s food approach and avoidance. Willingness to try the NF was observed and the amount of the NF consumed was measured. Physical prompting but no modelling resulted in greater physical refusal of the NF. There were main effects of enjoyment of food and food fussiness on acceptance. Food responsiveness interacted with condition such that children who were more food responsive had greater NF acceptance in the prompting and modelling condition in comparison to the modelling only condition. In contrast, children low in food responsiveness had greater acceptance in the modelling control condition than in the prompting but no modelling condition. Physical prompting in the absence of modelling is likely to be detrimental to NF acceptance. Parental use of physical prompting strategies, in combination with modelling of NF intake, may facilitate acceptance of NF, but only in food responsive children. Modelling consumption best promotes acceptance in children low in food responsiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-564
Number of pages11
JournalThe British journal of nutrition
Issue number3
Early online date25 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Children
  • Feeding practices
  • Parental modelling
  • Physical prompting
  • Fruits and vegetables


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