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Keywords:

  • children's diets;
  • complementary foods;
  • lumpy foods;
  • weaning

Abstract

The study aimed to follow up children who had been introduced to lumpy solids (chewy foods) at different ages, and to assess their dietary intake and feeding difficulties at seven years of age. Information was collected from a geographically defined population of 7821 mothers of children born in 1991/92, part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Self-report questionnaires were completed by the mother about her child at 6 months, 15 months, and 7 years postpartum about food foods eaten and feeding difficulties. Children were divided into three groups based on the age at which they were first introduced to ‘lumpy’ solids: 12.1% were introduced before 6 months of age, 69.8% were introduced between 6 and 9 months of age and 18.1% were introduced after 9 months. Children introduced to lumpy solids after the age of 9 months ate less of many of the food groups at seven years, including all 10 categories of fruit and vegetables, than those introduced to lumpy foods between 6–9 months (P < 0.05–0.001). In addition they were reported as having significantly more feeding problems at seven years (P < 0.05–0.001). The long-term feeding problems and reduced consumption of important food groups such as fruit and vegetables in children who are introduced to lumpy foods after the age of 9 months is a cause for concern. Health professionals must encourage the progression from purees and exposure to important food groups.