Deakin University

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Fussy Eating Rescue, a mobile-web app for responsive feeding practises among parents of toddlers: protocol for a pilot randomised controlled feasibility trial

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-24, 06:00 authored by Brittany Markides, Kylie HeskethKylie Hesketh, Ralph MaddisonRalph Maddison, Rachel LawsRachel Laws, E Denney-Wilson, Karen CampbellKaren Campbell
Background: Fussy eating is most often a developmentally typical behaviour, generally presenting during toddlerhood. However, up to half of parents of young children are concerned about fussy eating, and this concern may mediate the use of nonresponsive feeding practises, such as coercive or unstructured feeding and using food to reward eating. Despite the high prevalence of parental concern for fussy eating and the negative impacts nonresponsive feeding practises have on children’s health and diets, no previous digital intervention to improve the feeding practises of parents of toddlers concerned about fussy eating has been evaluated. Aim: This article describes the protocol of a randomised controlled feasibility pilot aiming to evaluate Fussy Eating Rescue, a purely web app based intervention for parents of toddlers. The primary aim is to investigate feasibility and acceptability; secondary aims are to explore indications of intervention effect on parents’ feeding practises or children’s eating behaviours. Methods: Fussy Eating Rescue features include: (1) a Tracker, that allows parents to track repeated offers of food, (2) Topics, providing information on fussy eating, effective feeding strategies, and general nutrition, (3) Rescues, containing quick references to material supporting Topics contents, (4) Recipes, and (5) SMS notifications. Parents of toddlers (12–36 months old, n = 50) who have concerns about fussy eating will be recruited via Facebook. Parents will be randomised to an intervention group, which receives access to the app for 6 weeks, or to wait-listed control. Outcomes will be assessed at baseline and 6 weeks after app use, using online questionnaires and app usage statistics. Primary outcomes include participant retention rate, intervention engagement, app usability, perceived ease in using the app, perceived usefulness of the app, and user satisfaction. Secondary outcome measures include parents’ feeding practises and children’s eating behaviours. Discussion: Results will inform whether Fussy Eating Rescue is a feasible way to engage parents concerned for their toddler’s fussy eating behaviours. If feasible and acceptable to users, a larger trial will further examine the efficacy of the Fussy Eating app in improving parents’ feeding practises and children’s eating behaviours. Trial registration: Prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry on 15 July, 2021 (ACTRN12621000925842).



Pilot and Feasibility Studies



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