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  1. Health and Nutrition News

  2. Nov 8, 2013

Children Develop Ideas about "Good" and "Bad" Foods Early

Children develop ideas about whether foods are healthful or not at an early age, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Researchers observed 172 children ages 3 to 5 years. Each was asked to identify whether certain foods were healthful or unhealthful. Results show that most picked foods as "healthful," although most struggled to identify unhealthful foods. The study did not suggest that the children's views were accurate.

This study supports previous research suggesting that children develop ideas about which foods are good for them around age 5. The authors propose nutrition education for children as young as age 4.

Many children eat meals at school every day. See PCRM’s efforts to improve school lunches at


  1. Tatlow-Golden M, Hennessy E, Dean M, Hollywood L. ‘Big, strong and healthy’. Young children’s identification of food and drink that contribute to healthy growth. Appetite. 2013;71:163-170.

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