Feeding problems in healthy young children: prevalence, related factors and feeding practices

Pediatr Rep. 2013 Jun 13;5(2):38-42. doi: 10.4081/pr.2013.e10. Print 2013 Jun 13.


The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, characteristics, and factors related to feeding problems among normal children, and the differences in feeding practices between those with and without feeding problems. Caregivers of 402 healthy children aged between one and four years of age were interviewed by pediatricians involved in the research. Data included the child's medical history, food intake within a day, and feeding behaviors and practices. Parental socio-economic and demographic information, as well as information on parental education and occupation, and their concerns about feeding their children, was collected. Physical examination and anthropometric measurements were taken. The percentage of children identified as having feeding problems was 26.9%. The first child of a family had an increased risk of having feeding problems [P=0.032, odds ratio 1.68, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.04-2.71]. Children with feeding problems were fed less frequently, were less likely to be fed at their own table or at the family table, and had mealtimes longer than 30 min when compared with children without feeding problems (P=0.015, 0.004 and 0.025, respectively). The results highlight that feeding problems in normally developing children are common. During consultations about feeding issues, pediatricians should focus on families with a first child. Topics such as frequency of meals per day, duration of mealtimes, and appropriate places for feeding should be discussed.

Keywords: children; feeding problems; prevalence.