Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


3.3 HEALTH SCIENCES, Public and environmental health

Publication Details

Int J Environ Res Public Health . 2020 Nov 13;17(22):8401.

doi: 10.3390/ijerph17228401


This study was conducted to explore the associations between maternal feeding practices,mealtime emotions, as well as maternal food neophobia and toddlers’ food neophobia in Ireland.A follow-up to the Technological University Dublin (DIT)-Coombe Hospital birth cohort wasconducted. Mothers in the original cohort were invited to the present study by telephone calls.Postal questionnaires with stamped addressed envelopes were distributed to those who agreed toparticipate in the study. Toddler food neophobia was assessed by the modified version of the ChildFood Neophobia Scale (CFNS). There were 205 participants included in this study, with a median scoreof child food neophobia of 12. A higher degree of child food neophobia (score>12) was positivelyassociated with the maternal practice of coaxing the children to eat at refusal (OR (Odds Ratio)=2.279,95% CI: 1.048–4.955), unpleasant emotions at mealtime (e.g., stressful or hectic for mothers, or tearfulfor children) (OR ranged between 1.618 and 1.952), and mothers’ own degree of food neophobia(OR=1.036, 95% CI: 1.001–1.072). Mothers who were not worried when confronted with child’s foodrefusal was negatively associated with toddlers’ food neophobia (OR=0.251, 95% CI: 0.114–0.556).This study suggests the maternal practices of responsive feeding, being calm and patient with thetoddlers, and creating a positive atmosphere at mealtime.