Eating behaviours evolve during the first years of life; children learn what, when, and how much to eat through direct experiences with food and by observing the eating behaviours of others. In light of the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in North America among all age groups1, including very young children, an understanding of the factors that influence eating behaviours during childhood is needed to improve the dietary patterns and health status of this age group. In this review, we will describe behavioural factors that shape the development of food acceptance, including food selection and food preferences, as well as the regulation of food intake in young children. Although a range of environmental factors may directly influence the development of child eating behaviours2,3, the primary focus of this review will be on ways in which caregivers influence children’s eating environments and eating behaviours.
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