Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Consistency of Food Preferences in Australian Children from 2 to 5 Years of Age

Version 1 : Received: 20 June 2018 / Approved: 20 June 2018 / Online: 20 June 2018 (08:42:52 CEST)

How to cite: Byrne, R.; Mauch, C.; Bell, L.; Daniels, L. Consistency of Food Preferences in Australian Children from 2 to 5 Years of Age. Preprints 2018, 2018060314 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201806.0314.v1). Byrne, R.; Mauch, C.; Bell, L.; Daniels, L. Consistency of Food Preferences in Australian Children from 2 to 5 Years of Age. Preprints 2018, 2018060314 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201806.0314.v1).

Abstract

While it is generally accepted that food habits established during infancy will track into later childhood, longitudinal analysis of children’s food preferences is rare. This paper examines whether maternal-reported child food preferences at five years of age are the same as that reported at two years; and identifies any patterns of change from two- to five- years. Mothers in the Australian NOURISH trial reported child food preferences at two and five years of age. A four point scale was utilised - ‘like’, ‘neither like or dislike’, ‘dislike’, ‘never tried’. The proportion of children having the same preference at the two time points was calculated (95%CI) for 48 foods (cereals, 4; vegetables, 20; fruit, 14; meat/alternatives, 6; dairy, 4). For foods where ≤50% children had consistent preferences, the pattern of food preference change was determined. For 40/48 foods, more than half of the children were reported to have the same preference at two years of age, and three years later, at age five. Foods for which ≤50% children had the same preference at both ages were high-sugar breakfast cereals, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, lettuce, cabbage and celery. Findings reinforce the importance of promoting a consistent message regarding early and frequent exposure to a variety of healthy foods, particularly during the first 2 years of life, as the preferences established in these early years are likely to be maintained over time.

Subject Areas

food preferences; early childhood; variety; longitudinal; fruit; vegetables

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