Understanding Food Fussiness and Its Implications for Food Choice, Health, Weight and Interventions in Young Children: The Impact of Professor Jane Wardle

E Leigh Gibson, Lucy Cooke

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review examines the concepts of fussy eating and food neophobia in the context of key determinants of the development of children's food preferences. We discuss the evidence for genetic versus parental and other environmental influences on the ontogeny of these behavioural traits and the implications of current knowledge for interventions that attempt to lessen the impact of these traits on children's diets. Finally, we consider whether these traits increase the risk of a child becoming obese, or alternatively, underweight and malnourished.

RECENT FINDINGS: Fussy eating and neophobia are related concepts with both genetic and environmental aetiologies. Parent-child correlations and heritability estimates are moderate to high for both traits, but aspects of the family environment remain influential in young children, although no longer in young adults. Parental strategies based around repeat tasting opportunities can improve acceptance of disliked foods in even the fussiest children. Fussy eating and neophobia are not risk factors for obesity but could limit growth in severe cases. Fussy eating and food neophobia are common concerns for parents, though health risks are low. Dissemination of evidence-based strategies to parents that can encourage a more varied diet in young children would be helpful.

© 2017 Springer. The attached document (embargoed until 16/02/2018) is an author produced version of a paper published in Current Obesity Reports, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13679-017-0248-9. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent obesity reports
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2017

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