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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 08:41 GMT
Children's tastes 'develop early'
A taste for beige food is developed early in life, the study found
Children's ideas about the foods they enjoy are formed very early, according to a University of Birmingham study.

Psychologists there have found that babies weaned on rusks are more likely to go on to prefer beige foods, such as crisps and chips, later in life.

The researchers said children built up a "visual prototype" of favoured foods.

But babies exposed to a range of tastes by the age of one, including fruit and vegetables, went on to show a greater preference for those tastes later on.

'Parental anxiety'

Children's vision of the kind of food they liked to eat would lead them to reject foods that do not fit into this category without even tasting them, the study found.

Researchers believe this could explain why so many children initially reject green foods like vegetables.

Dr Gillian Harris, a clinical psychologist at the university, said: "There is so much parental anxiety these days that parents don't feel that they can give their children broccoli, for example, and feel that food out of a jar or packet is a safer option for their child.

"There is uncertainty and a lack of education about how children should be fed and this can lead to children's preferences being set at a very early age.

"I would recommend that where possible, parents give their children the same food that they are eating provided it is a balanced diet containing fruit and vegetables, to introduce them to new colours, textures and shapes."

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