New thesis: Formation of healthy eating habits in children aged 0-3 years: supporting the development of public health guidelines dissemination material and its evaluation with parents and healthcare professionals

Date and place of defence: Friday March 4th, 2022; Dijon (France).

Institution: CSGA INRAE, France and Santé Publique France


Dr. Blandine De Lauzon-Guillain (UMR CRESS, INRAE, FR) – Reviewer
Prof Gerry Jager (Wageningen University, NL) – Reviewer
Prof. Noël Peretti (CHU Lyon, FR) – Examiner
Dr. Thierry Cardoso (Santé publique France, FR) – Examiner
Dr. Pauline Ducrot  (Santé publique France, FR) – Invited member
Prof Gaëlle Arvisenet (UMR CSGA, AgroSup Dijon, FR) – President of the jury


Dr. Sophie Nicklaus (UMR CSGA, INRAE, FR) – Thesis director
Dr. Camille Schwartz (UMR CSGA, INRAE, FR) – Thesis co-director

Summary of Thesis

The first thousand days of life from conception onwards are crucial, among other aspects, for the development of healthy eating habits and food preferences in children. Parental feeding practices significantly influence infants’ food consumption and choices during this period; therefore, parents must be properly informed and guided through the early feeding process. Renewed guidelines, covering this theme, have been released in France in June 2019. Considering the frequent interactions that healthcare professionals, such as pediatricians, have with parents during the early feeding, their role can be considered fundamental for the transmission of updated information. This thesis aims at contributing to the development of a paper brochure
to disseminate these public health recommendations to the lay public. It consists of four studies aiming at: informing a new public health communication strategy considering the needs of parents and healthcare professionals on child feeding communication; assessing whether the material developed (paper brochure) has a short-term effect on parental knowledge; and finally, if it is positively evaluated by healthcare professionals.

The results, reported in four articles in this doctoral thesis, highlighted that healthcare professionals are the most used and influent source of information for parents. Some differences existed regarding the communication needs of parents and the perceptions of pediatricians regarding those needs. In particular, diverging from pediatricians’ opinion, parents often ask for meaningful advice to their personal network and are in demand for practical tips. The paper brochure contributed to increase parental knowledge on child feeding independently from parental socio-demographical characteristics. Professionals evaluated the brochure as a good tool to support their discourse during consultations. These results contribute to the evidence for public health stakeholders when updating and providing resources for the dissemination of child feeding guidelines, with the ultimate aim of building a strategy accounting for the needs of all the users, to facilitate the circulation of official and updated information.


Papers in the Thesis

De Rosso, S., Schwartz, C., Ducrot, P., Nicklaus, S. (2021). The Perceptions and Needs of French Parents and Pediatricians Concerning Information on Complementary Feeding. Nutrients, 13, 2142.

De Rosso, S., Nicklaus, S., Ducrot, P., & Schwartz, C. (2021). Information seeking of French parents regarding infant and young child feeding: practices, needs and determinants. Public Health Nutrition, 1-14. https://doi:10.1017/S1368980021003086

Additional papers are still in review process


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