Responsive Feeding: Strategies to Promote Healthy Mealtime Interactions
When growth deviates from expected trajectories, attention is normally directed to diet instead of feeding. Patterns of growth and feeding are established early in life, and common feeding problems, including food responsiveness, can result in long-term weight, nutrition or behavioural problems. Prof Black provided an overview of eating development milestones between the ages 0–6 months, 6–12 months and 12–24 months, and the progression of feeding. Evidence suggests that responsive feeding, a derivative of responsive parenting, protects children from being under- or overweight. However, long-term follow-up studies and randomized controlled trials are needed. The advantages of children self-feeding during complementary feeding include lower risk of obesity because the task is self-regulated and enhanced motor development. However, self-feeding is associated with the risks of choking, micronutrient/macronutrient deficiencies, faltered growth and food waste. In this presentation, Black also discussed global approaches to responsive feeding and strategies to promote healthy mealtime interactions.