J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Apr;17(2):180-6.
The phenomenon of “picky eater”: a behavioral marker in eating patterns of toddlers.
Carruth BR, Skinner J, Houck K, Moran J 3rd, Coletta F, Ott D.
Nutrition Department, College of Human Ecology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996-1900, USA.
An incomplete block design provided two interviews at randomly assigned times (24, 28, 32, or 36 months) of Caucasian mothers from upper socioeconomic (n=74) and lower socioeconomic status (n=44). Using trained interviewers, 6 days of food intake, two administrations of a questionnaire about toddler’s eating behavior, and one administration of the Family Environment Scales were collected in the home. MANOVA, discriminant function analysis, and logistic regression procedures were used to determine significant differences between picky and non-picky eater groups.
Picky eaters had lower dietary variety (p=.03) and diversity scores (p=.009) than non-picky eaters. Mothers of picky eaters compared to those of non-picky eaters used persuasion (p=.0001) and ranked their child’s eating behaviors as more problematic (p=.0001).
Toddlers perceived by their mothers as picky eaters had significantly lower dietary variety and diversity scores. Parents need information and strategies to increase the number of foods acceptable to their toddlers and to develop a sound feeding plan.
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