Assessment of accuracy of parents’ perception of children’s picky eating behavior

Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao. 2014 Jun 18;46(3):383-8.

Assessment of accuracy of parents’ perception of their 4-36 months old children’s picky eating behavior


Li ZY1, Wang JZ1, Zhang YR1, Yu K2, Si-Tu WY2, You LL1, Chen C3, Li WJ4, Wang PY1, Zhang YM3.



To evaluate the accuracy of parents’ perception of whether their child is a picky eater and the specific food category the children avoideating according to the food frequency questionnaire.


This research selected 1 663 infants aged 4-36 months receiving non-diary complimentary food from maternal, infants, nutrition and growth study (MING Study) in 8 Chinese cities in which a combination of systematic cluster random sampling and purposive sampling was used. The general information, dietary status and picky eating status were collected through a self-designed questionnaire from the caregiver of the children. According to the parents’ perception, the children were classified into picky/non-picky groups or avoid/non-avoid to a specific food category groups. Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare between the groups.


The reported percentage of picky eaters increased from 7.37% in 4-6 months old infants to 36.20% in 25-36 months old infants. Most picky infants in 4-6 months and 7-12 months old infants avoided eating dairy food (25% and 24%); while most picky toddlers aged 13-24 months and 25-36 months avoided eating vegetables (26.92% and 47.46%). The infants aged 4-6 months and 7-12 months who were perceived as picky by their parents took more kinds of food (8 and 19.5 kinds) than those who were not (6 and 18 kinds), while the picky toddlers aged 13-24 months and 25-36 months took fewer kinds of food (28.5 and 34 kinds for picky eaters, 31 and 37 kinds for non-picky eaters). The parents of infants aged 4-6 months judged correctly in every category of food without any statistical significance; the parents of 7-12 months old infants judged correctly only in dairy food and eggs with statistical significance; those of 13-24 months old infants judged correctly in every food category except for vegetables with statistically significant difference in the category of eggs; those of 25-36 months old toddlers misjudged in dairy, beans and grains with no statistically significant difference in every category.


Parents tend to misjudge their children’s picky eating behavior before the first 12 months of the child, and tend to make a more accurate perception after the 12th month.

supported by

PICKY EATERS AND GROW UP CLINIC (Klinik Khusus Kesulitan Makan dan Gangguan Berat Badan) GRoW UP CLINIC JAKARTA Yudhasmara Foundation GRoW UP CLINIC I Jl Taman Bendungan Asahan 5 Bendungan Hilir Jakarta Pusat 10210, phone (021) 5703646 – 44466102 GRoW UP CLINIC II MENTENG SQUARE Jl Matraman 30 Jakarta Pusat 10430, phone (021) 44466103 – 29614252 email :

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