Picky eating – A risk factor for underweight in Finnish preadolescents

Heli T. Viljakainen, Rejane A.O. Figueiredo, Trine B. Rounge, Elisabete Vainio Weiderpass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Picky eating (PE) is the most common cause of early-life feeding problems. However, the consequences of PE on food intake and weight development in general populations have not been established. Objectives: This study aims to investigate the associations of PE and food neophobia (FN) with weight status in 5700 Finnish preadolescents. In addition, we described food consumption by PE/FN status. Material and methods: We utilised the Finnish Health in Teens (Fin-HIT) cohort of 9–12-year-old preadolescents, who were categorised as having PE and FN based on answers from parental questionnaires. Weight was categorised as underweight, normal weight, and overweight/obesity based on body mass index (BMI) according to IOTF age- and sex-specific cut-offs. Eating patterns were obtained with a 16-item food frequency questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: The overall prevalence of PE and FN were 34% and 14%, respectively. PE was inversely associated with overweight/obesity (OR = 0.7; 95% CI 0.6–0.8) and led to a higher risk of underweight (OR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.7–2.4), while this was not observed with FN. Compared with preadolescents without PE/FN, those with PE/FN reported consuming unhealthy foods such as pizza, hamburgers/hot dogs, and salty snacks more frequently (p < 0.0038). By the same token, these preadolescents reported consuming healthy foods such as cooked vegetables, fresh vegetables/salad, fruit/berries, milk/soured milk, and dark bread less frequently. Conclusions: Among Finnish preadolescents, only PE was associated with a higher risk for underweight and inversely with overweight/obesity. PE and FN were accompanied with unhealthy eating patterns. Management of PE in children may be explored as a potential strategy for improving healthy eating and avoiding underweight in preadolescents.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages107-114
Number of pages8
JournalAppetite
Volume133
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Fingerprint

Thinness
Eating
Food
Weights and Measures
Obesity
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Vegetables
Fruit
Milk
Logistic Models
Snacks
Bread

Keywords

  • BMI
  • Food intake
  • Food neophobia
  • Picky eating
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Picky eating – A risk factor for underweight in Finnish preadolescents. / Viljakainen, Heli T.; Figueiredo, Rejane A.O.; Rounge, Trine B.; Weiderpass, Elisabete Vainio.

In: Appetite, Vol. 133, 01.02.2019, p. 107-114.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Viljakainen, Heli T. ; Figueiredo, Rejane A.O. ; Rounge, Trine B. ; Weiderpass, Elisabete Vainio. / Picky eating – A risk factor for underweight in Finnish preadolescents. In: Appetite. 2019 ; Vol. 133. pp. 107-114.
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