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Not much is known at present about the behavioural and sensory profiles of children with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), the newest addition to the eating disorder diagnostic category in DSM-V. Our aims were to examine eating difficulties, behavioural problems and sensory hypersensitivity in ARFID children, relative to typically developing children with no reported feeding, mental or physical health problems, as well as children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD; typically associated with a high prevalence of eating problems) or Picky Eating (PE).
Four hundred and eighty-six parents of children with ARFID (n = 29), ASD (n = 56), PE (n = 143) or no reported difficulties (n = 259) completed (online) the Behavioral Pediatric Feeding Assessment Scale, the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the Sensory Experiences Questionnaire about the children.
The ARFID, ASD and PE groups had eating difficulties, behavioural problems and sensory hypersensitivity, relative to the typically developing group, and differed significantly on only some of the dimensions assessed. Specifically, the ARFID group had the lowest food-responsiveness and differed significantly from the PE and typically developing (but not from ASD) groups while the ASD group had significantly greater behavioural problems and social and non-social sensitivity than all other groups.
Notable overlap in eating difficulties, behavioural problems and sensory profiles of children with ARFID, ASD or PE, with more severe aberrations in ARFID (food-responsiveness) and ASD (hypersensitivity and social problems) on specific dime7nsions, argue for a dimensional approach to improve therapy and management of children with these disorders.
To investigate the effect of television food advertising on children’s food intake, specifically whether childhood obesity is related to a greater susceptibility to food promotion.
The study was a within-subject, counterbalanced design. The children were tested on two occasions separated by two weeks. One condition involved the children viewing food advertisements followed by a cartoon, in the other condition the children viewed non-food adverts followed by the same cartoon. Following the cartoon, their food intake and choice was assessed in a standard paradigm.
The study was conducted in Liverpool, UK.
Fifty-nine children (32 male, 27 female) aged 9–11 years were recruited from a UK school to participate in the study. Thirty-three children were normal-weight (NW), 15 overweight (OW) and 11 obese (OB).
Exposure to food adverts produced substantial and significant increases in energy intake in all children (P < 0·001). The increase in intake was largest in the obese children (P = 0·04). All children increased their consumption of high-fat and/or sweet energy-dense snacks in response to the adverts (P < 0·001). In the food advert condition, total intake and the intake of these specific snack items correlated with the children’s modified age- and gender-specific body mass index score.
These data suggest that obese and overweight children are indeed more responsive to food promotion, which specifically stimulates the intake of energy-dense snacks.
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