Parental influence on eating behavior: Conception to adolescence

Jennifer S. Savage, Jennifer Orlet Fisher, Leann L. Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

739 Scopus citations

Abstract

The first years of life mark a time of rapid development and dietary change, as children transition from an exclusive milk diet to a modified adult diet. During these early years, children's learning about food and eating plays a central role in shaping subsequent food choices, diet quality, and weight status. Parents play a powerful role in children's eating behavior, providing both genes and environment for children. For example, they influence children's developing preferences and eating behaviors by making some foods available rather than others, and by acting as models of eating behavior. In addition, parents use feeding practices, which have evolved over thousands of years, to promote patterns of food intake necessary for children's growth and health. However in current eating environments, characterized by too much inexpensive palatable, energy dense food, these traditional feeding practices can promote overeating and weight gain. To meet the challenge of promoting healthy weight in children in the current eating environment, parents need guidance regarding alternatives to traditional feeding practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Law, Medicine and Ethics
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

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