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J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Dec;100(12):1474-81.

Food neophobia in childhood affects dietary variety.



To determine whether children with food neophobia (unwillingness to try new foods) have more restrictive diets than children without neophobia.


Seventy children were classified into 3 groups based on scores obtained on the Food Neophobia Scale: neophobic group, score greater than 41; neophilic group, score less than 27; and average group, score of 28 to 40.


Dietary data were collected and analyzed for 3 days selected randomly. The dependent variables measured were energy and nutrient intakes, servings of each Food Guide Pyramid group, and Health Eating Index (HEI) scores.


chi 2, 1-way analysis of covariance, and Scheffé multiple comparisons tests were conducted.


The 3 groups were similar with respect to the number of children meeting two thirds of the RDA/DRI for energy and most nutrients. The exception was vitamin E: fewer neophobic children met two thirds of the recommended value for this nutrient than average and neophilic children. The overall HEI score was significantly lower for the neophobic group compared with the average and neophilic groups. The HEI index showed that children with neophobia had a higher intake of saturated fat and less food variety than children without food neophobia.


Dietitians should emphasize increased food variety for children within the context of a healthful diet. Research should be conducted to determine the effects of dietary variety on quality of diet and health of children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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