The foods that tend to be rejected by children include those which may have greatest importance for later health. This paper reviews some of the intrinsic and extrinsic influences on preschool children's eating behavior, with particular reference to their acceptance of new foods into their diet. Factors conceptualized as intrinsic to the child in this review include sensory processing, taste perception, neophobia, and temperament. The important extrinsic determinants of children's food acceptance which are reviewed include parental and peer modeling, the family food environment, infant feeding practices including breastfeeding and age at weaning, concurrent feeding practices including restriction, pressure to eat, prompting and reward, and the taste & energy content of foods. Children's willingness to accept new foods is influenced by a wide range of factors that likely have individual and also interactive effects on children's willingness to taste, and then continue to eat, new foods. The literature lacks longitudinal and experimental studies, which will be particularly important in determining interventions most likely to be effective in facilitating children's acceptance of healthy foods.
- Feeding practice
- Sensory sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience