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Food neophobia has been associated with decreased consumption of vegetables mainly among children. We hypothesized that food neophobia in adults is also associated with lower overall dietary quality and higher BMI.
Data for the present cross-sectional analyses were derived from parents in a follow-up family study.
The STEPS study, a longitudinal study of health and development of a cohort of children born in south-west Finland.
The parents, 1178 women (age 19–45 years, mean 32·2 years) and 1013 men (age 18–57 years, mean 34·1 years), completed a questionnaire at home when their child was 13 months old. The questionnaire included the Food Neophobia Scale (FNS; range 10–70), the Index of Diet Quality (IDQ; range 0–16) and a measure of fruit and vegetable consumption. At that time the participants’ height and weight were also measured by a research nurse to calculate BMI.
Compared with the food neophilics (FNS score 10–24), the food neophobics (FNS score 40–70) consumed fewer vegetables (women: 15 v. 10 portions/week; men: 13 v. 7 portions/week), scored lower on the IDQ (women: 9·7 v. 8·5; men: 8·8 v. 7·8) and had higher BMI (women: 24·2 v. 26·0 kg/m2; men: 26·5 v. 27·5 kg/m2) as tested by one-way ANOVA, with all P values <0·001 in women and <0·05 in men. The food neophobics followed a diet lower in nutritional quality than did the food neophilics, especially regarding vegetables.
Food neophobia may complicate adaptation to dietary recommendations and predispose to overweight.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the association between parental eating behaviours and dietary patterns and feeding practices of infants and young children.
Data on infant-feeding practices were collected from each infant’s birth via parentally self-administered follow-up diaries. Three questionnaires, the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, the Food Neophobia Scale and the Index of Diet Quality, were administered when the children were aged 4 and 13 months.
Families participating in the STEPS longitudinal cohort study (n 1797).
Mean duration of exclusive breast-feeding was 2·4 months and total duration of breast-feeding averaged 8·1 months. The first solid food was introduced into children’s diets at the age of 3·9 months, on average. Mothers with highly restrictive eating were more likely to introduce solid foods sooner than mothers who ranked lower in these behaviours (3·8 months v. 4·0 months, P=0·012). Neophobic mothers breast-fed exclusively (2·0 v. 2·6 months, P=0·038) and in total (7·2 v. 8·5 months, P=0·039) for shorter times than average mothers, even after adjusting for various demographic characteristics. Fathers’ diet quality was associated with total breast-feeding duration and with introduction of complementary foods in unadjusted analyses and with total breast-feeding duration also after adjusting for confounding factors.
Mothers’ and fathers’ eating patterns and practices are associated with the feeding practices of infants and young children. Health promotion interventions seeking to improve parents’ eating patterns might lead to more favourable feeding practices for infants and young children.
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