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


  • 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.

publication date

  • August 2011