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Parental influences on the diets of 2–5-year-old children: systematic review of interventions

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During the early years, parents have a major influence on their children's diets, food choices and development of eating habits. However, research concerning the influence of parental feeding practices on young children's diets is limited. This paper presents a systematic review of intervention studies with parents of preschool children. The aim was to investigate the effectiveness of interventions that target parent nutrition knowledge and/or parenting practices with parents of young children aged two to five years in the development of healthy dietary habits. Seventeen studies were identified. Findings highlight the limited number of good quality studies in this age group. Limitations include design inconsistency and a lack of longitudinal data to evaluate sustainability. Research on parental understanding of healthy diets and specific parenting styles and feeding practices is lacking. Further insights into how parents can positively influence children's diets will come from quality longitudinal research examining both parent feeding practices and nutrition knowledge in this age group.

Keywords: children; diet; nutrition; parents; prevention

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Sansom Institute for Health Research,School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Frome RoadAdelaide,South Australia,5000, Australia 2: Centre for Physical Activity & Nutrition Research,Deakin University, Burwood HighwayBurwood,3125, Australia 3: Discipline of Public Health,University of Adelaide, Adelaide,South Australia,5000, Australia

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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