Small Bites
230 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Nov 2022
Release Date:01 Apr 2022
Release Date:01 Apr 2022
Release Date:01 Apr 2022

Small Bites

Biocultural Dimensions of Children's Food and Nutrition

UBC Press

Food Guides. Picky eaters. Obesity. Malnutrition. In the current era of anxiety and hype over how we feed children, Small Bites challenges us to rethink preconceptions about the biological basis of children’s eating habits, gendered and parent-focused responsibility, and the notion of naturally determined children’s foods.

Tina Moffat undertakes a holistic examination of the evolutionary, historical, and biocultural foundations of children’s food and nutrition. She weaves anthropological research from around the globe into an assessment of contemporary pediatric dilemmas, and covers developmental stages from conception through adolescence. The biological and sociocultural determinants of child nutrition and feeding are framed in terms of key questions: Are children naturally picky eaters? How can school meal programs help to address food insecurity and malnutrition? How has the industrial food system commodified children’s food and shaped children’s bodies?

Small Bites investigates how children are fed in school and at home in Nepal, France, Japan, Canada, and the United States to reveal the ways in which child nutrition reflects broader cultural approaches to childhood and food. In the process, this important work sets a course for food policy, schools, communities, and caregivers to improve children’s food and nutrition equitably and sustainably.

Scholars and students of food studies and child studies, anthropologists and anthropology students, nutritionists, dietitians, and public health and pediatric care providers will all find this book indispensable.

Listen to an interview with author Tina Moffat on Eat This Podcast, "Feeding Children Well," October 31, 2022.

There has not been a book to date on the biocultural analysis of child feeding. I welcome this one. Andrea Wiley, professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University
In Small Bites, Tina Moffat answers a number of important questions about children’s diet and nutrition the world over in order to improve our children’s nutritional well-being. Anthony Winson, author of The Industrial Diet: The Degradation of Food and the Struggle for Healthy Eating

Tina Moffat is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University. She has published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, among other academic journals, and is co-editor, with Tracy Prowse, of Human Diet and Nutrition in Biocultural Perspective: Past Meets Present. She is a past president of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology.

List of Figures and Tables


1 Baby Steps: Prenatal, Infant, and Young Child Feeding

2 Biocultural Variation in Child Feeding and Eating

3 Children’s Food in the Age of the Industrial Diet

4 It Takes a Village: School Feeding Programs

5 Global Malnutrition and Children’s Food (In)Security

6 Childhood Obesity: A Twenty-First Century Nutritional Dilemma

7 New Directions in Children’s Food and Nutrition

References; Notes; Index

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