Feeding behavior problems in children with cystic fibrosis in the UK: prevalence and comparison with healthy controls

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Apr;36(4):443-7. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200304000-00004.


Background: Feeding behavior problems contribute to inadequate dietary intake for many patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). However, to establish effective intervention programs, more needs to be known about the occurrence and distribution of these difficulties. The aims of this study were to establish the prevalence and range of disruptive child behaviors (DCB) in patients with CF and the inappropriate parental responses (IPR) during mealtimes and to compare the results with those of healthy children.

Methods: In study A, parents of 108 patients (aged 1-7 years) completed a Behavioural Paediatric Feeding Assessment Scale comprising two domains: DCBs and IPRs during mealtimes. Parents rated the frequency of the behaviors and responses and identified those they considered problematic. In study B, data from the CF group (n = 69, aged 1-12 years) were compared with 69 age- and sex-matched control subjects.

Results: Parents of children with CF aged 5 to 8 years recorded significantly more DCBs than those in all other age ranges. These parents also reported significantly more IPRs than did parents of children aged 9 to 12 years and 13 to 17 years. Parents of children with CF reported significantly more DCBs and IPRs than did those of the control subjects. There were significantly more problematic DCBs and IPRs in the CF group than in the control group for children aged 5 to 8 years and 9 to 12 years but not for those aged 1 to 4 years.

Conclusions: Parents of children with CF report more feeding behavior problems than do those of healthy control subjects. The high prevalence of feeding behavior problems in older children suggests that preventative and reactive interventions must continue throughout childhood and vary according to the child's developmental abilities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Eating*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology