How to improve the diet of toddlers? The feasibility of an online, habit-based intervention targeting parental feeding behaviour

L. Engels, C. Mons, E. Mergelsberg, E. Kothe, K. Hamilton, B. Gardner, G. Ten Hoor, B. Mullan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The diet of toddlers is often not in accordance with dietary recommendations, putting them at risk of poor health outcomes later in life. Parents can struggle to provide their toddler with a healthy diet and interventions are needed. Helping parents to form healthy feeding habits may facilitate healthy feeding behaviours. Therefore, the aim of this study was to establish the feasibility of a 6-week online intervention to build healthy feeding behaviours in parents of toddlers.Methods: Parents and primary caregivers of children aged 2-3 (N = 75) were recruited to complete a 6-week online intervention consisting of 6 modules targeting habit formation, planning, goal setting, self-efficacy, interpersonal influences and picky eating. Demographics and feeding behaviours were measured with self-report at baseline and follow-up. Intervention acceptability and feasibility ratings were also gathered post-intervention.Results: Most participants were recruited online, highly educated and in a relationship. After 6-weeks, 17 participants completed the follow-up questionnaire, 11 of whom indicated that they had completed the whole intervention. Improvements were found for some feeding behaviours. Generally, participants who completed the programme reported that they found it acceptable.Conclusions: This study provides insights for future intervention development. Firstly, an online healthy feeding intervention seems to be acceptable but may need to focus on fewer change techniques. Further, engagement should be improved by including target group members and compulsory reminders. The target behaviours seem to be relevant. Online recruitment seems to be preferable and reaches parents and primary caregivers nationwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1037
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • Online intervention
  • healthy feeding habits
  • toddlers
  • acceptability and feasibility
  • behaviour change

Cite this