Childhood Temperament Linked To Eating Habits

by Paromita Datta published on -

Children’s temperament or how they deal with their environment can also influence their diet. A Norwegian study, published in the journal Appetite, found that individual temperament plays a decisive role in the development of eating behavior in children. Temperamental children have a greater chance of developing an unhappy relationship with food along with unhealthy eating habits. The authors recommended that such children may need special parental attention in developing good eating habits.

The research team used a community sample of 997 Norwegian children for their study. These participants were followed biennially from age 4 to 10. Their eating patterns were mapped through a Children Eating Behavior Questionaire. It was designed to measure ‘food approach’ and food avoidant’ behavior.

Child scared to eat food and pushing the plate away

Watch out for food avoidance in your child. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Food approach was gauged by four parameters, namely food responsiveness, emotional overeating, enjoyment of food, and desire to drink. On the other end of the scale, food avoidant behavior was also measured by four factors. These were satiety responsiveness, emotional undereating, food fussiness, and slowness in eating.

The team found that higher negative affectivity (such as angry reaction, mood instability, and dysregulated negative emotions) influenced both food approach and food avoidant behavior. Positive emotions, greater engagement with their environment, on the other hand, was associated with more food approach and less food avoidant behavior. However, this did not apply to emotional under- or over-eating

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About the Author

Paromita Datta covers the latest health and wellness trends for Organic Facts. An ex-journalist who specialized in health and entertainment news, Paromita was responsible for managing a health supplement for The New Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. She has completed her post-graduation in Business Administration from the University of Rajasthan and her diploma in journalism from YMCA, Delhi. She has completed an e-course, Introduction to Food and Health, from Stanford University, US.

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