Defining picky eating and its relationship to feeding behaviors and weight status.
We assessed the individual constructs that comprise "picky eaters" and determined the relationship of each construct to parental perception of their child's weight status, parental pressure-to-eat, and the child's body mass index z-score (BMIz). We developed a questionnaire including 7 commonly used measures of picky eating, which was completed by parents of 2-8 year-olds in pediatric clinics. We performed exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and model fit. Regression models assessed the association of each picky eating factor to weight perception, pressure-to-eat, and BMIz. We identified three distinct picky eating factors: trying new foods, eating sufficient quantity, and desire for specific food preparation. Each factor had Cronbach's alpha > 0.7 and acceptable model fit. No factors were associated with weight perception. Parents who were more concerned their child did not eat enough were more likely to pressure-to-eat, and these children had lower BMIz. These components of picky eating should be addressed by primary care providers.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)