Encouraging the development of healthy eating habits early in life is considered to be the best pathway toward the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases. One goal of the 2020Y2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to add children from birth to the age of 24months to those included in the subsequent editions of the guidelines. Although a focus on early childhood is long overdue, the construction of these guidelines will require an integration of evidence from multiple disciplines including nutrition, child development, sensory science, and socioeconomic and environmental factors. This article briefly reviews the rapid trajectory of infant and toddler anatomical and social development as they relate to the acquisition of eating habits, sensory aspects that influence children's food acceptance, and how each of these influences children's food preference development. The effects of caregiver feeding strategies on children's food acceptance patterns, as well as the impact of cultural norms, are also examined. The article closes with identifying opportunities for research that could integrate nutrition and child development principles with individual differences in the sensory perception and could incorporate a focus on interactions within the caregiver-child dyad.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nutrition and Dietetics