Basic taste sensitivity, eating behaviour, and propensity of dairy foods of preadolescent children: How are they related?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionOpen Research Europe. 2021, 1:127 10.12688/openreseurope.14117.1
Background: Taste sensitivity has been reported to influence children’s eating behaviour and contribute to their food preferences and intake. This study aimed to investigate the associations between taste sensitivity and eating behaviour in preadolescents. Methods: Children’s taste sensitivity was measured by detection threshold with five different concentration levels of sweetness (sucrose), sourness (citric acid), saltiness (sodium chloride), bitterness (caffeine, quinine), and umami (monosodium glutamate). In addition, the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ), the Food Propensity Questionnaire (FPQ), and the children’s body weight and height were completed by the parents. Children conducted the sensory evaluation test at schools while parents completed the questionnaires online. Results: A total of 69 child-parent dyads participated. Taste sensitivity was significantly associated with eating behaviour in food responsiveness, emotional overeating, and desire to drink. Children who were less sensitive to caffeine bitterness (higher detection threshold) had higher food responsiveness scores, while those who were less sensitive to sweetness and caffeine bitterness had higher emotional overeating scores. In addition, children who were less sensitive to sourness and bitterness of both caffeine and quinine demonstrated to have higher scores in desire to drink. There was no association between taste sensitivity and FPQ, but significant differences were observed across children’s body mass index (BMI) regarding their FPQ of dairy food items, indicating higher consumption of low-fat milk in the overweight/obese compared to the normal-weight subjects. There was no significant difference in taste sensitivity according to BMI. Children’s eating behaviour differed across BMI, demonstrating a positive association between BMI and food approach, and a negative association between BMI and food avoidance. Conclusions: This study contributes to the preliminary understanding of the relationships between taste sensitivity and eating behaviour in preadolescents which could be used to develop effective strategies to promote healthy eating practices in children by considering their taste sensitivity.