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The early years of life are a critical time of growth and development. Young children are influenced by their caregivers, environment, and learning experiences. This entry provides information about the aspects of and barriers to healthy choices by young children. A summary of an ecological system theory is given, followed by examples of interventions focused on promoting health and wellness.

Young children learn about healthy habits from their parents and other caregivers. Adults determine most aspects of a child’s diet and model different levels of physical activity. Health habits acquired during early childhood are important because they are predictive of future dietary and activity behaviors. Unhealthy food choices and sedentary lifestyles in young children can contribute to childhood obesity and future health concerns such as type ...

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