Parental modelling and prompting effects on acceptance of a novel fruit in 2–4-year-old children are dependent on children’s food responsiveness

Jackie Blissett, Carmel Bennett, Anna Fogel, Gillian Harris, Suzanne Higgs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few children consume the recommended portions of fruit or vegetables. This study examined the effects of parental physical prompting and parental modelling in children’s acceptance of a novel fruit (NF) and examined the role of children’s food-approach and food-avoidance traits on NF engagement and consumption. A total of 120 caregiver–child dyads (fifty-four girls, sixty-six boys) participated in this study. Dyads were allocated to one of the following three conditions: physical prompting but no modelling, physical prompting and modelling or a modelling only control condition. Dyads ate a standardised meal containing a portion of a fruit new to the child. Parents completed measures of children’s food approach and avoidance. Willingness to try the NF was observed, and the amount of the NF consumed was measured. Physical prompting but no modelling resulted in greater physical refusal of the NF. There were main effects of enjoyment of food and food fussiness on acceptance. Food responsiveness interacted with condition such that children who were more food responsive had greater NF acceptance in the prompting and modelling conditions in comparison with the modelling only condition. In contrast, children with low food responsiveness had greater acceptance in the modelling control condition than in the prompting but no modelling condition. Physical prompting in the absence of modelling is likely to be detrimental to NF acceptance. Parental use of physical prompting strategies, in combination with modelling of NF intake, may facilitate acceptance of NF, but only in food-responsive children. Modelling consumption best promotes acceptance in children with low food responsiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-564
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number03
Early online date25 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Authors 2015.

Funded by the Feeding For Life Foundation (grant reference
number 11-1170).


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