Food neophobia and its association with diet quality and weight in children aged 24 months : a cross sectional study

Perry, Rebecca A., Mallan, Kimberley M., Koo, Jasly, Mauch, Chelsea E., Daniels, Lynne A., & Magarey, Anthea M. (2015) Food neophobia and its association with diet quality and weight in children aged 24 months : a cross sectional study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 12(13).

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Food neophobia, the rejection of unknown or novel foods, may result in poor dietary patterns. This study investigates the cross-sectional relationship between neophobia in children aged 24 months and variety of fruit and vegetable consumption, intake of discretionary foods and weight.


Secondary analysis of data from 330 parents of children enrolled in the NOURISH RCT (control group only) and SAIDI studies was performed using data collected at child age 24 months. Neophobia was measured at 24 months using the Child Food Neophobia Scale (CFNS). The cross-sectional associations between total CFNS score and fruit and vegetable variety, discretionary food intake and BMI (Body Mass Index) Z-score were examined via multiple regression models; adjusting for significant covariates.


At 24 months, more neophobic children were found to have lower variety of fruits (β=-0.16, p=0.003) and vegetables (β=-0.29, p<0.001) but have a greater proportion of daily energy from discretionary foods (β=0.11, p=0.04). There was no significant association between BMI Z-score and CFNS score.


Neophobia is associated with poorer dietary quality. Results highlight the need for interventions to (1) begin early to expose children to a wide variety of nutritious foods before neophobia peaks and (2) enable health professionals to educate parents on strategies to overcome neophobia.

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5 citations in Scopus
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7 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 81951
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Children, Neophobia, Diet, Weight, Fruit and vegetables, Discretionary foods
DOI: 10.1186/s12966-015-0184-6
ISSN: 1479-5868
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Perry et al.; licensee BioMed Central.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 22 Feb 2015 23:19
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2015 04:26

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