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Early Years

Supporting healthy eating and prevention of childhood obesity in the early years:

This learning activity aims to provide knowledge and practical tools to be able to support young children in the early years to maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy, balanced diet and to help give them the best possible start in life.


This activity looks at the association between early years feeding and obesity and introduces important areas in early years nutrition that may have a significant impact on the prevention of overweight and obesity. These include breastfeeding, complementary feeding and feeding practices like responsive feeding.


Promoting healthy behaviours in early life should be an important consideration in strategies to prevent obesity.


Helena Gibson-Moore, Nutrition Scientist, British Nutrition Foundation

What it includes:

Information developed by the British Nutrition Foundation, as well as advice from academic and nutrition experts.


It may be helpful for anyone working with infants, young children and their families and carers including healthcare and nutrition professionals, early years practitioners and childminders and students. It may also be of interest to a parent, carer or guardian looking for in-depth information in this subject area.


We do hope you enjoy the activity and find the learning valuable.

Healthy weight in young children

This module describes the prevalence, implications for health and risk factors of childhood obesity.



This module explores the benefits of breastfeeding, including the reduction of baby’s risk of obesity, and the influence of breastfeeding on the gut microbiome.


Complementary feeding

This module identifies current guidelines and best practices for complementary feeding, including foods to encourage and foods to be aware of. It also looks at the importance of early feeding in developing tastes like for vegetables.


Feeding practices

This module explores the fact that HOW infants are fed (not just WHAT) can impact their energy and nutrient intake.


In Conversation With The Experts Podcast

The British Nutrition Foundation is passionate about early years nutrition – it is important to support physical and cognitive growth, plus not only the child’s immediate but also long-term health. We know that as well as growth and development, immunity is a top consideration for the carers of young children. Our podcast In Conversation With The Experts gives you a unique opportunity to learn from some of the most brilliant minds in nutrition science.


In each episode, we delve into the guest’s area of expertise to find out more about a nutrition topic from their knowledge and insights. Whether you are a health professional, student or just interested in learning more, tune in to discover the fascinating world of nutrition science.

Breastfeeding and immunity

Breastfeeding gives a baby the best possible start in life – but how can breastfeeding influence immunity?


In this episode, we hear from Dr Caroline Childs, Associate Professor at the University of Southampton. Dr Child’s research includes a focus on diet and its links with immune function, plus the gut microbiome.

First foods and immunity

How can feeding in the first year of life influence immunity?

In this episode, we hear from Dr Stacey Lockyer, Senior Nutrition Scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation. Stacey talks about how foods in young children’s diets can impact immunity.

Breast milk, HMOs and immunity

What exactly are human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and what role could they play in early years’ immunity?


In this episode, we hear from Prof Sharon Donovan, Director of the Personalized Nutrition Initiative at the University of Illinois. Dr Donovan investigates some of the most pressing health issues facing children and families, including promoting a healthy gut, brain, and microbiome through diet, and talks about the complex role of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) in immunity.

The British Nutrition Foundation is grateful to Nestle Nutrition for providing an educational grant towards this learning resource and podcast series. The programme has been directed by the Foundation alone, which is committed to producing independent, evidence-based science.