Young Children’s Food Neophobia Characteristics and Sensory Behaviors Are Related to Their Food Intake.
Sommaire de l'article
Food neophobia in children has been associated with poor dietary variety and nutrient intakes. Underlying characteristics that may predispose a child to neophobia have not been widely studied.
We aimed to investigate the associations between children's food neophobia, sensory sensitivity, and dietary intake in a diverse sample of typically developing preschoolers.
Caregiver reports of children's food neophobia and sensory behaviors (SBs) as measured by the Food Neophobia Scale and the Sensory Profile, children's observed weight outcome [body mass index z score (BMIz)], and children's food intake as estimated from the Block Kids Food Screener were collected at baseline in the Colorado LEAP (Longitudinal Eating and Physical Activity Study) study of childhood obesity. Preschool-aged children (n = 249; 136 girls, 113 boys; aged 55.6 Â± 4.7 mo; BMIz = 0.54 Â± 1.14) and caregivers [n = 180; 57 Hispanic, 119 non-Hispanic white (NHW), 4 unknown] participated. Data were analyzed by Pearson correlations and multivariate hierarchical linear regression analyses.
Lower scores for children's oral sensory characteristics (i.e., more atypical) were related to higher neophobia ratings (r = -0.53, P < 0.001), and neophobia was negatively associated with reported vegetable intake (r = -0.31, P = 0.001) and dietary variety (r = -0.22, P < 0.001). Hispanic caregivers reported more atypical child SB scores (46.2 Â± 8.8) than did NHW caregivers (50.5 Â± 7.6; P = 0.006); however, no differences were noted for neophobia and SB scores by parent income and education or child sex. Neophobia was negatively associated with vegetable intake and dietary variety (P < 0.001 for both). SBs were associated with children's energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages in bivariate analyses (r = -0.18, P < 0.05); however, in regression models, only ethnicity was significantly associated with energy from sugar-sweetened beverages (P < 0.001). Hispanic ethnicity was positively associated with sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (P < 0.001).
Children's neophobia and sensory sensitivity may be important in understanding underlying issues related to limited food acceptance in typically developing young children and for helping caregivers facilitate healthy dietary intake patterns for their children.