Funding agencies: Supported by NIH grant K08MH01530 to Dr. Faith.
Child food neophobia is heritable, associated with less compliant eating, and moderates familial resemblance for BMI
Version of Record online: 2 JUL 2013
Copyright © 2013 The Obesity Society
Volume 21, Issue 8, pages 1650–1655, August 2013
How to Cite
Faith, M. S., Heo, M., Keller, K. L. and Pietrobelli, A. (2013), Child food neophobia is heritable, associated with less compliant eating, and moderates familial resemblance for BMI. Obesity, 21: 1650–1655. doi: 10.1002/oby.20369
Disclosure: The author declare no conflict of interest.
- Issue online: 22 AUG 2013
- Version of Record online: 2 JUL 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 20 MAR 2013 02:00AM EST
- Manuscript Received: 15 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 JAN 2013
- NIH. Grant Number: K08MH01530 to Dr. Faith
The heritability of food neophobia, the tendency to avoid new foods, was tested in 4-7-year-old twins. We also examined whether food neophobia is associated with parent-child feeding relations or child body fat.
Design and Methods
66 same-sex twin pairs, including 37 monozygotic (MZ) and 29 dizygotic (DZ) pairs were studied. Food neophobia was assessed by parent questionnaire (Child Food Neophobia Scale, CFNS), as were child-feeding practices and “division of responsibility” feeding relations. Child anthropometry and percent body fat were directly measured.
MZ and DZ twin pair correlations for food neophobia were r = 0.71 and r = −0.01, respectively: heritability= 72%. Greater food neophobia was associated with reduced child eating compliance of prompted foods (P < 0.001) reduced eating compliance of initially refused foods (P < 0.001), and – among girls only – fewer parental food demands (P = 0.01). Interestingly, the correlation between maternal BMI and child BMI z-score was significant only for children high (P = 0.03), but not low (P = 0.55), in food neophobia.
Child food neophobia, a highly heritable trait previously linked to emotionality, was associated with less compliant parent–child feeding relations. Strategies to combat food neophobia and foster more harmonious feeding relationships may have a role in obesity prevention.