Module 6: Putting It Into Practice
Communicating About Food in a Diverse World

6.3 Nutrition Supervision

FamilyBright Futures combines developmental and contextual approaches to help infants, children, and adolescents develop positive attitudes toward food and practice healthy eating behaviors.

The developmental approach to childhood nutrition focuses on the specific social and psychological characteristics of infants, children, and adolescents during each stage of development. It recommends approaches to encourage healthy eating based on age-appropriate attitudes toward food.

The contextual approach provides consistent nutrition messages to families and their infants, children, adolescents. 

Consistency and flexibility are important in handling the challenges of infancy and early childhood. However, during middle childhood and adolescence, parents should encourage their children and adolescents to take more responsibility for their own health by practicing healthy eating behaviors. 

Bright Futures recommends that food and eating be viewed as both health-enhancing and pleasurable. Food provides more than just energy and sustenance. It holds innumerable symbolic, emotional, social, and personal meanings.  Food is connected with nurturing, family, culture, tradition, and celebration. 

Promoting positive attitudes toward food and healthy eating behaviors in infants, children, and adolescents involves recognizing the multiple meanings of food and creating an environment that encourages the enjoyment of food.

The guidance Bright Futures provides on cultural sensitivity when discussing nutrition reiterates the information this curriculum has covered:

  • Health professionals can encourage people to be more candid by asking open-ended, nonjudgmental questions.
  • People from different cultures may view bodyweight differently.
  • For those who cannot tolerate any milk or dairy products in their diet, health professionals can suggest other sources of calcium.
  • Include culturally sensitive interview questions on eating behaviors and food choices, food resources, weight and body image, and perceptions of physical activity.

Holt, K, ed. (2011). Bright Futures Nutrition (3rd ed.)—Pocket Guide. Elk Grove Village: IL. American Academy of Pediatrics.