Perceived recollection of frequent exposure to foods in childhood is associated with adulthood liking

Devina Wadhera, Elizabeth D. Capaldi Phillips, Lynn M. Wilkie, May Boggess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Food preferences and habits learned at a young age can influence adulthood dietary patterns and weight, but the mechanism remains to be elucidated. We investigated the effect of perceived recollections of early food experiences on current liking for those foods by 670 college students. We showed that the perceived recollection of frequent consumption of foods in childhood was significantly related to current liking for the vast majority of the foods, including nutritious foods such as vegetables. Similarly, parental encouragement and modeling was positively related with current liking, even for foods that were disliked in childhood. Additionally, perceived recollections of parental restriction or forced consumption were significantly negatively related with current liking. Lastly, we demonstrated that perceived recollections by college students of childhood eating practices were in moderate agreement with those of their parents, lending credibility to the retrospective survey methodology in determining long-term effects of exposure on current food habits. These findings show that the perceived recalled frequency of consumption of foods is one determinant of the food preferences of adults, demonstrating a long-term effect of frequency of exposure, a finding consistent with experimentally controlled short-term studies. Frequent exposure to foods in childhood could be a simple and effective way for parents and caregivers to instill healthy eating habits in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Childhood food exposure
  • Childhood recall
  • Food preferences
  • Parenting style

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceived recollection of frequent exposure to foods in childhood is associated with adulthood liking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this