Conflict of Interest: Anne Tharner works at ErasmusAGE, a center supported by Nestlé Nutrition (Nestec Ltd.), Metagenics Inc., and AXA.
Trajectories of picky eating during childhood: A general population study
Version of Record online: 30 JAN 2015
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 48, Issue 6, pages 570–579, September 2015
How to Cite
Cardona Cano, S., Tiemeier, H., Van Hoeken, D., Tharner, A., Jaddoe, V. W.V., Hofman, A., Verhulst, F. C. and Hoek, H. W. (2015), Trajectories of picky eating during childhood: A general population study. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 48: 570–579. doi: 10.1002/eat.22384
The authors had final responsibility for design and conduct of the study, collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data, and preparation, review or approval of the manuscript.
No authors declare a conflict of interest.
- Issue online: 18 AUG 2015
- Version of Record online: 30 JAN 2015
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 DEC 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 16 DEC 2014
- Manuscript Received: 9 APR 2014
- picky eating;
- child eating problems;
- longitudinal study
This cohort study describes the prevalence of picky eating and examines prognostic factors for picky eating trajectories during childhood.
4,018 participants of a population-based cohort with measurements from pregnancy onwards were included. Picky eating was assessed by maternal report when children were 1.5, 3, and 6 years old. The associations of child and family characteristics with trajectories of picky eating were examined using logistic regression. Never picky eaters were used as the reference group.
Prevalence of picky eating was 26.5% at 1.5 years of age, 27.6% at the age of 3 and declined to 13.2% at 6 years. Four main picky eating trajectories were defined: (1) never picky eating at all three assessments (55% of children), (2) remitting (0–4 years, 32%), (3) late-onset (6 years only, 4%), and (4) persistent (all ages, 4%). This implies that almost two thirds of the early picky eaters remitted within 3 years. Male sex, lower birth weight, non-Western maternal ethnicity, and low parental income predicted persistent picky eating. More often late-onset picky eaters were children of parents with low income and non-Western ethnicity.
We found that nearly half (46%) of children were picky eaters at some point during early childhood. Remittance was very high. This suggests that picky eating is usually a transient behavior and part of normal development in preschool children. However, a substantial group of persistent picky eaters, often from a socially disadvantaged background, continues to have problems beyond the preschool age. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:570–579)