Associations between Child Mental Well-Being or Conflicts during Mealtime and Picky Eating Behaviour

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Pickiness is an eating behavior that many families with young children face. Having joint family meals may impact the child's pickiness, for instance by influencing their willingness to try novel foods. Moreover, picky children have been shown to display greater emotionality. The aim of this study was to investigate if children's mental well-being and parent-reported conflicts during mealtime were associated with pickiness among obesity-prone children. Data was obtained from the baseline examination of the Healthy Start intervention study, the Danish Medical Birth registry and the Danish Health Visitor's Child Health Database, and included 635 children aged 2-6 years that were all at high risk for becoming overweight later in life. Children's mental well-being was measured by the strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Crude and adjusted ordinal logistic regressions were used to investigate the cross-sectional associations. Children had a higher odds associated with changing from a category of less pickiness to a category of more pickiness for each one point higher SDQ score (ORadj. = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.14; 1.61) and lower odds (ORadj. = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.38; 0.86) associated with changing pickiness category towards more pickiness for each one point higher SDQ prosocial score. Moreover, children with conflicts during mealtime had higher odds of being in a worse pickiness category compared to children without conflicts (ORadj. = 3.37, 95% CI = 2.27; 5.01). This study showed that among obesity-prone children, behavioral problems, as well as conflicts during mealtime, were associated with more picky behaviors. Further longitudinal studies are needed to confirm the findings, as are studies including general child population subsets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5621
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number11
Number of pages8
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • pickiness, child behavior, mealtime, conflicts, preschool children, PRESCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN, FOOD NEOPHOBIA, FAMILY STRESS, MOTHERS, QUESTIONNAIRE, TEMPERAMENT, ENVIRONMENT, PREVALENCE, DIETARY, FRUIT

ID: 272303682