Factors influencing children's food choice

Ann Med. 1999 Apr;31 Suppl 1:26-32.


Although food habits are not stable and unchanging during a person's lifetime, a base for healthy food habits can be created in early childhood. Children's food habits can be assumed to be influenced by their parents' food habits and choices. The aim of this article is to review factors influencing food choice in children as well as in adults. The results demonstrate that the development of children's food habits is influenced by a multitude of factors. Parents play an important role in the formation of food habits and preferences of young children. They can influence their children's food choice by making specific foods available, by acting as models for their children and by their behaviour in specific situations. Children tend to be afraid of new foods and do not readily accept them. However, experience is known to enhance preference, and earlier experiences of a particular food are the major determinants of the development of children's food acceptance patterns. Thus, parents should be encouraged to make healthy foods easily available to the child and serve these foods in positive mealtime situations in order to help their child to develop healthy food habits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations