Lok, L.X., Nor Baizura, M.Y.
Department of Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Picky eating behaviour among children is often associated with inappropriate growth in childhood and may lead to adult eating disorders in later life. This study aimed to determine the association between socio-demography, anthropometry, maternal characteristics and home environment and picky eating behaviour among pre-school children.
Mothers of the pre-school aged children (n=228) completed an online questionnaire. Socio-demography, anthropometry measurement and all questionnaires were self-reported. Family meal routine and feeding practice were measured using Family Ritual Questionnaire and Child Feeding Questionnaire. Picky eating behaviour was assessed using two subscales from the Oregon Research Institute Child Eating Behavior Inventory. SPSS version 25 with significance level set at p<0.05 and Spearman's rank correlation were used to analyse the data.
Results & Discussion
The majority of the children were Malays (82%) and girls (51.3%). Most of the children had a normal BMI-for-age z-score (89.5%), while a small percentage was wasted (0.4%). The mean maternal age and income were 33.21¬±4.37 years and RM1080.30¬±101.00. The percentages of the mothers‚ BMI underweight, normal, overweight and obese were 1.8%, 38.6%, 34.2% and 24.1%, respectively. The means of family meal routine and television during mealtime were 11.93±3.78 and 2.07¬±1.08, respectively. The highest score of feeding practice domains was restriction (22.39±5.78), followed by pressure to eat (11.82±3.28) and responsibility (9.43 ¬± 2.29). The pickiness and refusal subscales of picky eating behaviour had means of 11.79¬±4.70 and 6.48¬±6.02, respectively. The parent's perceived weight (r=0.133, p=0.044) and monitoring (r=0.149, p=0.025) factors of feeding practice were significantly associated with the pickiness subscale of picky eating behaviour. The results demonstrated that feeding practice significantly influences the children's picky eating behaviour.
In conclusion, parent's perceived weight and monitoring are important in developing picky eating behaviour among preschool-aged children.