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Publication - Dr Pauline Emmett

    Factors associated with maternal worry about her young child exhibiting choosy feeding behaviour


    Emmett, PM, Hays, NP & Taylor, CM, 2018, ‘Factors associated with maternal worry about her young child exhibiting choosy feeding behaviour’. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol 15.


    Choosiness in young children is a normal behaviour that sometimes worries parents. The study aimed to investigate factors that are associated with a mother being worried about her child’s choosy feeding behaviour. Parents of singleton children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (n = 5710) completed a questionnaire assessing perception of their child’s choosy feeding behaviour at 15 months of age and whether this choosiness worried them. Feeding behaviours and practices throughout the first 15 months were captured. Multinomial logistic regression models with three levels of worry (not at all, a bit and greatly) as the dependent variables tested associations with variables from pregnancy and infancy. Half of the children (56%) were described as choosy at 15 months; of these 27% had mothers who were a bit worried and 5% greatly worried. Mothers showed greater odds of being worried if the child was first born, difficult to feed or refused solids by 6 months of age. Worried mothers had shown greater odds of introducing lumpy foods late (after 9 months). Feeding vegetables regularly by 6 months was associated with lower odds of worry at 15 months. Support and advice to parents at the start of complementary feeding could help to alleviate worry. Parents should be reassured that choosiness is a normal part of child development.

    Full details in the University publications repository