Journal article Open Access

The Perceptions and Needs of French Parents and Pediatricians Concerning Information on Complementary Feeding

Sofia De Rosso; Camille Schwartz; Pauline Ducrot; Sophie Nicklaus

Appropriate complementary feeding (CoF) is the key to preventing childhood obesity and promoting long-term health. Parents must be properly informed through the CoF process. Pediatricians have opportunities to interact with parents during the CoF transition and influence parental feeding decisions. They can convey public health nutrition messages to parents. With the release of new CoF recommendations in France in 2019, and from the perspective of their conversion into official public health communication material, the aim of this study was to explore parents’ and pediatricians’ perceptions and needs regarding information on CoF. Two online surveys were disseminated to gather information on CoF communication and guidance: one for parents (n = 1001, January 2020); one for pediatricians (n = 301, October 2019). The results showed that the importance of CoF for children’s healthy growth was well recognized by both parents and pediatricians. Parents acknowledged pediatricians as the most influential source of advice; and pediatricians were aware of their responsibility in counselling parents on CoF. However, pediatricians neglected the fact that parents gave high trust to their personal network when looking for advice. The Internet was a well-recognized source of information according to all. Diverging from what pediatricians considered useful, parents were interested in practical advice for implementing CoF. This study highlights common expectations and points of divergence between parents’ needs and pediatricians’ perceptions of those needs with regard to CoF information.

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