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A population-based study of preschoolers' food neophobia and its associations with food preferences

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2008, 00:00 authored by Georgie RussellGeorgie Russell, Tony WorsleyTony Worsley
Objective: This cross-sectional study was designed to investigate the relationships between food preferences, food neophobia, and children’s characteristics among a population-based sample of preschoolers.

Design: A parent-report questionnaire.

Setting: Child-care centers, kindergartens, playgroups, day nurseries, and swimming centers.

Subjects: 371 two- to five-year-old Australian children.

Outcome Measures: Associations between food neophobia and the food preferences and characteristics.

Analysis: Analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, Pearson product-moment correlations, and Fisher z test were used to estimate and compare the associations between these variables.

Results:
Food neophobia was associated with reduced preferences for all food groups, but especially for vegetables (r = −0.60; P < .001). It was also associated with liking fewer food types (r = −0.55; P < .001), disliking more food types (r = 0.42; P < .001), the number of untried food types (r = 0.25; P < .001), a less varied range of food preferences (r = −0.59; P < .001), and less healthful food preferences overall (r = −0.55; P < .001). No significant relationships (P < .01) were observed between food neophobia and a child’s age, sex, or history of breast-feeding.

Conclusions: The study confirms and extends results obtained in experimental research and population-based intake studies of food neophobia to children’s everyday food preferences. The findings suggest that preschool children’s everyday food preferences are strongly associated with food neophobia but not with children’s age, sex, or history of breast-feeding. When aiming to influence children’s food preferences, the effects of food neophobia and strategies to reduce it should be considered.

History

Journal

Journal of nutrition education and behavior

Volume

40

Issue

1

Season

January-February

Pagination

11 - 19

Publisher

Decker

Location

Hamilton, Ont.

ISSN

1499-4046

eISSN

1878-2620

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2008, Society For Nutrition Education