Determinants of dietary diversification

The National Nutrition and Health Programme (PNNS) recommends that dietary diversification, with the gradual introduction of different food groups, should begin at 6 months and not before 4 months. However, little is yet known about what actually happens in France.

By analysing Elfe parents’ responses to questionnaires about the introduction of 28 food groups between the ages of 3 and 10 months, researchers have been able to identify the factors influencing the initiation of dietary diversification, and in particular the characteristics of families where new foods are introduced before the age of 4 months.

Infants’ mean age at the start of this process is 5.3 months. Infants given a diversified diet before 4 months (21%) are more often boys, come from families where both parents were born abroad, or have a mother who is aged below 25 years, smokes, is overweight, or does not have a high-school diploma.

The food groups most often introduced before 4 months are cereals, vegetables, fruit and potatoes.

More information

More information

Bournez M., Ksiazek E., Wagner S., Kersuzan C., Tichit C., Gojard S., Thierry X., Charles M.-A., Lioret S., de Lauzon-Guillain B., Nicklaus S., “Factors associated with the introduction of complementary feeding in the French ELFE cohort study”, Maternal & Child Nutrition, October 2017. [Link]