Developing a weaning strategy for children's early exposure to vegetables as well as developing new ways for children to like their vegetables at an early age offers hope for a healthier adult life.
Consuming fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Children's vegetable intake remains quite low, however, according to the recommended portion of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Most children in Europe fail to meet the minimum consumption of even one serving of vegetables per day. This is most likely due to a dislike in taste. It could also be due to lack of familiarity.
'V is for vegetable: Applying learning theory to increase liking and intake of vegetables' (VIVA), an EU-funded project, devoted four years to developing qualitative and quantitative means for improving vegetable preference and consumption in children. Using qualitative studies, best practices of mothers in two EU countries were explored to determine if exposure to unfamiliar vegetables at weaning or during preschool would increase acceptance.
Weaning recommendations from Europe, the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO) were compared and trial interventions were developed according to plan. A workshop was then conducted to go over feeding guidelines and a qualitative research study took place.
Findings were published in a journal and a random control trial was put into effect to test the efficacy of an intervention involving the introduction of vegetables during the weaning period. Communication materials are available for healthcare practitioners as well as for the general public.
The results will be useful for scientists, health care professionals, policymakers, industry representatives and stakeholders.
Provided by Cordis