Mid-childhood fruit and vegetable consumption: The roles of early liking, early consumption, and maternal consumption

Appetite. 2016 Oct 1;105:306-11. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.05.033. Epub 2016 May 27.


Previous studies have shown that early liking, early consumption, and maternal consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) each predict children's F&V consumption, but no one has examined the independent contributions of these three correlated factors. We aim to examine the extent to which each of these 3 factors is associated with F&V consumption in mid-childhood after accounting for the other 2 in the analysis. We analyzed data from 901 mother-child dyads from Project Viva, a prospective pre-birth cohort study. Mothers reported their child's early liking and consumption of F&V at age 2 years and later consumption at mid-childhood (median age 7.7 years). They also reported their own consumption of F&V at 6 months postpartum. We used multivariable linear regression models to examine the independent associations of these 3 factors with mid-childhood consumption, adjusting for socio-demographic, pregnancy, and child confounders. At 2 years, 53% of the mothers strongly agreed that their child liked fruit and 25% strongly agreed that their child liked vegetables. F&V consumption was 2.5 (1.3) and 1.8 (1.1) times/d at age 2 y and 1.5 (1.1) and 1.3 (0.8) times/d in mid-childhood. Maternal F&V consumption was 1.4 (1.1) and 1.5 (1.0) times/d, respectively. Children's early consumption played the most predominant role. For every 1 time/d increment in children's early consumption of F&V, mid-childhood consumption was higher by 0.25 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.19, 0.30) times/d for fruits and 0.21 (95% CI: 0.16, 0.26) times/d for vegetables, adjusted for confounders plus the other 2 exposures. In conclusion, children's early F&V consumption has the most significant influence on children's later consumption.

Keywords: Early consumption; Early liking; Fruit and vegetable consumption; Maternal consumption.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Mothers
  • Parenting
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vegetables*