Early Eating Behaviours and Food Acceptance Revisited: Breastfeeding and Introduction of Complementary Foods as Predictive of Food Acceptance

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  • De Montfort University


Current dietary advice for children is that they should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (Department of Health. National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 2014). However, many parents report that children are reluctant to eat vegetables and often fail to comply with the five-a-day rule. In fact, in surveys carried out in areas in the UK, the number of children eating according to the five-a-day rule has been found to be as low as 16 % (Cockroft et al. Public Health Nutr 8(7):861–69, 2005). This narrative review looks at those factors which contribute to food acceptance, especially fruit and vegetables, and how acceptance might be enhanced to contribute to a wider dietary range in infancy and later childhood. The questions we address are whether the range of foods accepted is determined by the following: innate predispositions interacting with early experience with taste and textures, sensitive periods in infancy for introduction, breastfeeding and the pattern of introduction of complementary foods. Our conclusions are that all of these factors affect dietary range, and that both breastfeeding and the timely introduction of complementary foods predict subsequent food acceptance.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-120
JournalCurrent Obesity Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2016