Does parental nutritional education ensure proper nutritional status in infants?

Dagmara Woźniak, Kinga Ilnicka-Borowczyk, Michalina Banaszak, Juliusz Przysławski, Mirosława Wieczorek-Filipiak, Sławomira Drzymała-Czyż


Introduction: Proper nutrition is extremely important at all stages of human life. Nutritional programming states that either an excess or deficiency of nutrients during the first 1000 days of a child’s life can alter their metabolism and affect their health later in life. Despite widespread access to information on infant nutrition, parents still need to correct their feeding mistakes. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of parental nutrition education on the nutritional status of children during their first year of life and to check whether these changes are still visible after 12 months.
Materials and methods: The follow-up study included a group of parents of 168 Polish infants. Their parents were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: the intervention group received intensive mobile nutritional education for 1 year, while the control group received no intervention. The children were assessed 12 months after the end of parental participation.
Results: Our study showed that parental nutritional education influenced, among other things, the body mass index (BMI) z-score (the difference between the groups was 0.991) and the micro- and macronutrient intake of the children. The influence was still visible 12 months after the end of the study.
Conclusions: The final results of our study showed that proper nutritional education could improve the nutritional status of children at the population level.


child nutrition; early childhood nutrition; nutritional programming; nutritional intervention; human health

Full Text:



Ong TP, Guest PC. Nutritional programming effects on development of metabolic disorders in later life. Methods Mol Biol 2018;1735:3-17. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7614-0_1.

Langley-Evans SC. Nutritional programming of disease: unravelling the mechanism. J Anat 2009;215(1):36-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00977.x.

Langley-Evans SC. Nutrition in early life and the programming of adult disease: a review. J Hum Nutr Diet 2015;28(Suppl 1):1-14. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12212.

Plagemann A. Perinatal nutrition and hormone-dependent programming of food intake. Horm Res 2006;65(Suppl 3):83-9. doi: 10.1159/000091511.

Baird J, Fisher D, Lucas P, Kleijnen J, Roberts H, Law C. Being big or growing fast: systematic review of size and growth in infancy and later obesity. BMJ 2005;331(7522):929. doi: 10.1136/bmj.38586.411273.E0.

Barker DJ, Eriksson JG, Forsén T, Osmond C. Fetal origins of adult disease: strength of effects and biological basis. Int J Epidemiol 2002;31(6):1235-9. doi: 10.1093/ije/31.6.1235.

Barker DJ. The developmental origins of chronic adult disease. Acta Paediatr Suppl 2004;93(446):26-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2004.tb00236.x.

Williams TC, Drake AJ. What a general paediatrician needs to know about early life programming. Arch Dis Child 2015;100(11):1058-63. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2014-307958.

Woźniak D, Podgórski T, Dobrzyńska M, Przysławski J, Cichy WK, Drzymała-Czyż S. Mothers’ knowledge of nutritional programming influences DHA intake in children – analysis of nutrition of children aged 13-36 months in Poland. J Health Inequal 2022;8(1):56-65.

Woźniak D, Przysławski J, Banaszak M, Drzymała-Czyż S. Dietary Supplements among Children Ages 0-3 Years in Poland – Are They Necessary? Foods 2022;12(1):1-13. doi: 10.3390/foods12010016.

Xu S, Xue Y. Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. Exp Ther Med 2016;11(1):15-20. doi: 10.3892/etm.2015.2853.

Birch L, Savage JS, Ventura A. Influences on the development of children’s eating behaviours: From infancy to adolescence. Can J Diet Pract Res 2007;68(1):1-56.

Haszard JJ, Russell CG, Byrne RA, Taylor RW, Campbell KJ. Early maternal feeding practices: Associations with overweight later in childhood. Appetite 2019;132:91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.10.008.

Pai HL, Contento I. Parental perceptions, feeding practices, feeding styles, and level of acculturation of Chinese Americans in relation to their school-age child’s weight status. Appetite 2014;80:174-82. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.029.

Shloim N, Edelson LR, Martin N, Hetherington MM. Parenting styles, feeding styles, feeding practices, and weight status in 4-12 year-old children: A systematic review of the literature. Front Psychol 2015;6:1849. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01849.

Silva GA, Costa KA, Giugliani ER. Infant feeding: beyond the nutritional aspects. J Pediatr (Rio J) 2016;92(3 Suppl 1):2-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2016.02.006.

Shloim N, Vereijken CMJL, Blundell P, Hetherington MM. Looking for cues – infant communication of hunger and satiation during milk feeding. Appetite 2017;108:74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.09.020.

Jamka M, Wasiewicz-Gajdzis M, Walkowiak J. Effectiveness of different dietary strategies in the management of obesity and obesity-related comorbidities. J Med Sci 2021;90(2):121-4. doi: 10.20883/medical.e523.

Smith JD, Berkel C, Jordan N, Atkins DC, Narayanan SS, Gallo C, et al. An individually tailored family-centered intervention for pediatric obesity in primary care: study protocol of a randomized type II hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial (Raising Healthy Children study). Implement Sci 2018;13(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s13012-017-0697-2.

Mekonnen T, Brantsæter AL, Andersen LF, Lien N, Arah OA, Gebremariam MK, et al. Mediators of differences by parental education in weight-related outcomes in childhood and adolescence in Norway. Sci Rep 2022;12(1):5671. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-09987-z.

Kim HS, Park J, Park KY, Lee MN, Ham OK. Parent involvement intervention in developing weight management skills for both parents and overweight/obese children. Asian Nurs Res (Korean Soc Nurs Sci) 2016;10(1):11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.anr.2015.07.006.

Woźniak D, Podgórski T, Krzyżanowska-Jankowska P, Dobrzyńska M, Wichłacz-Trojanowska N, Przysławski J, et al. The influence of intensive nutritional education on the iron status in infants. Nutrients 2022;14(12):2453. doi: 10.3390/nu14122453.

Woźniak D, Podgórski T, Dobrzyńska M, Przysławski J, Drzymała S, Drzymała-Czyż S. The influence of parents’ nutritional education program on their infants’ metabolic health. Nutrients 2022;14(13):2671. doi: 10.3390/nu14132671.

Fidler Mis N, Braegger C, Bronsky J, Campoy C, Domellöf M, Embleton ND, et al. Sugar in infants, children and adolescents: A position paper of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2017;65(6):681-96. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001733.

Fewtrell M, Bronsky J, Campoy C, Domellöf M, Embleton N, Fidler Mis N, et al. Complementary Feeding: A position paper by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2017;64(1):119-32. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001454.

Hammersley ML, Okely AD, Batterham MJ, Jones RA. An internet-based childhood obesity prevention program (Time2bHealthy) for parents of preschool-aged children: Randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res 2019;21(2):e11964. doi: 10.2196/11964.

Jones R, Wells M, Okely A, Lockyer L, Walton K. Is an online healthy lifestyles program acceptable for parents of preschool children? Nutr Diet 2011;68(2):149-54.

Palczewska I, Niedzwiecka Z. Wskaźniki rozwoju somatycznego dzieci i młodzieży warszawskiej. Med Wieku Rozw 2001;5(2 Suppl 1):18-118.

The WHO Child Growth Standards. (19.02.2021).

Anderson LN, Carsley S, Lebovic G, Borkhoff CM, Maguire JL, Parkin PC, et al. Misclassification of child body mass index from cut-points defined by rounded percentiles instead of Z-scores. BMC Res Notes 2017;10(1):639. doi: 10.1186/s13104-017-2983-0.

Roy SM, Spivack JG, Faith MS, Chesi A, Mitchell JA, Kelly A, et al. Infant BMI or weight-for-length and obesity risk in early childhood. Pediatrics 2016;137(5): e20153492. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-3492.

Sawicka-Gutaj N, Gruszczyński D, Guzik P, Mostowska A, Walkowiak J. Publication ethics of human studies in the light of the Declaration of Helsinki – a mini-review. JMS 2022;91(2):81-5. doi: 10.20883/medical.e700.

Jarosz M, Rychlik E, Stoś K, Charzewska J, editors. Normy żywienia dla populacji Polski i ich zastosowanie. Warszawa: Narodowy Instytut Zdrowia Publicznego – Państwowy Zakład Higieny; 2020.

Fernández-Alvira JM, Mouratidou T, Bammann K, Hebestreit A, Barba G, Sieri S, et al. Parental education and frequency of food consumption in European children: the IDEFICS study. Public Health Nutr 2013;16(3):487-98. doi: 10.1017/S136898001200290X.

Hendaus MA, El Ansari W, Magboul S, AlHalabi O, Sati M, Kamal H, et al. Parental perceptions of child’s healthy diet: Evidence from a rapidly developing country. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9(9):4949-55. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1252_19.

McManus KE, Bertrand A, Snelling AM, Cotter EW. In their own words: Parents and key informants’ views on nutrition education and family health behaviors. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021;18(15):8155. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18158155.

Flores-Barrantes P, Mavrogianni C, Iglesia I, Mahmood L, Willems R, Cardon G, et al. Can food parenting practices explain the association between parental education and children’s food intake? The Feel4Diabetes-study. Public Health Nutr 2022;25(10):1-14. doi: 10.1017/S1368980022000891.

Räsänen M, Niinikoski H, Keskinen S, Helenius H, Talvia S, Rönnemaa T, et al. Parental nutrition knowledge and nutrient intake in an atherosclerosis prevention project: the impact of child-targeted nutrition counselling. Appetite 2003;41(1):69-77. doi: 10.1016/s0195-6663(03)00046-1.

Romanos-Nanclares A, Zazpe I, Santiago S, Marín L, Rico-Campà A, Martín-Calvo N. Influence of parental healthy-eating attitudes and nutritional knowledge on nutritional adequacy and diet quality among preschoolers: The SENDO Project. Nutrients 2018;10(12):1875. doi: 10.3390/nu10121875.

Clark HR, Goyder E, Bissell P, Blank L, Peters J. How do parents’ child-feeding behaviours influence child weight? Implications for childhood obesity policy. J Public Health (Oxf) 2007;29(2):132-41. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdm012.

Axelsson I. Effects of high protein intakes. Nestle Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program 2006;58:121-31. doi: 10.1159/000095025.

Oddy WH. Infant feeding and obesity risk in the child. Breastfeed Rev 2012;20(2):7-12.

Collell R, Closa-Monasterolo R, Ferré N, Luque V, Koletzko B, Grote V, et al. Higher protein intake increases cardiac function parameters in healthy children: metabolic programming by infant nutrition-secondary analysis from a clinical trial. Pediatr Res 2016;79(6):880-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2016.30.


Copyright (c) 2024 Dagmara Woźniak, Kinga Ilnicka-Borowczyk, Michalina Banaszak, Juliusz Przysławski, Mirosława Wieczorek-Filipiak, Sławomira Drzymała-Czyż

License URL: