Influences on the dietary intakes of preschool children: a systematic scoping review

M. Jarman*, K. Edwards, J. Blissett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Better diet quality of preschool children is associated with many important health outcomes, but there is significant room for improvement in many children’s dietary intakes. The determinants of children’s dietary intakes are complex and whole systems approaches may be effective tools for changing dietary intake. Collation of all the evidence available on determinants of preschool children’s dietary intake is necessary to ‘map’ the whole system of influence. Therefore, this systematic scoping review of available literature on determinants of dietary intakes in preschool children was undertaken. Methods: The Joanna Briggs Institute methods for conducting a systematic scoping review were followed. Articles published since 2000 which assessed influences on the dietary intakes of preschool children were identified, yielding a total of 246 papers. Studies of children with clinical conditions (excluding obesity), or those conducted in middle and low-income countries were excluded, due to the different systems of influence in these populations. Data were extracted and information synthesised based on ecological level (child, parent, household, childcare, or wider determinants). Results: Most articles focused on influences at the parental level (n = 118, 48%), followed by those at the child level (n = 73, 30%). Most of the studies were of cross-sectional design (n = 109, 44%). Whilst many studies considered influences at multiple ecological levels (n = 63, 26%) few analyses determined interactions between factors in their relationship with children’s dietary intakes, which is needed going forward using systems methods. Conclusion: A wealth of evidence exists examining influences on the dietary intakes of preschool children and this information would benefit from analysis using a systems thinking approach in order to assess effective levers for intervention and what works, for whom, under what circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which
permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the
original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or
other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line
to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory
regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this
licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


  • Diet
  • Ecological systems theory
  • Preschool children
  • Scoping review


Dive into the research topics of 'Influences on the dietary intakes of preschool children: a systematic scoping review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this