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Want to Raise a Fruit-and-Veggie Lover? Be Persistent
Date:12/3/2007

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"The more variety a breast-feeding mother has in her diet, the more the infant is likely to accept a wide variety of foods," said Lona Sandon, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "The flavor of breast milk may change depending on what the mother is eating. The breast-fed infant is then more accustomed to new flavors than a formula-fed infant. This could enhance their likelihood of trying and accepting new foods or flavors."

Other research has also shown that infants are likely to accept a food after it has been offered several times, Sandon said. "So at first if you don't succeed, try, try again," she advised.

Connie Diekman, president of the American Dietetic Association and director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said the study results provide practical information for new parents.

"The fact that the best way to develop a taste for something is through multiple taste tests is something most parents don't know. I'd encourage parents to try small amount of new foods, offer with encouragement, and re-offer for at least a week before deciding if the baby likes it or not," she said.

In another study published in the same issue of Pediatrics, researchers found that allergic peanut reactions are occurring at earlier ages. They compared medical data of children treated for peanut allergies at a Duke University clinic between July 2000 and April 2006 with those of a similar population between 1995 and 1997. During the earlier period, the median ages for the first exposure and reaction were 22 and 24 months, respectively. During the later period it was 14 and 18 months, respectively.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children avoid peanut exposure during the first three years of life, especially if there is a family history of allergy.

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