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Appetite. 1997 Aug;29(1):89-103.

Food and general neophobia and their relationship with self-reported food choice: familial resemblance in Swedish families with children of ages 7-17 years.

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  • 1Centre for Caring Sciences, University of Uppsala, Uppsala Science Park, Uppsala, Sweden.


The aims were to study food and general neophobia in Swedish families, age and gender differences and familial resemblance. Also, the relationships between the level of food neophobia of individual family members and earlier experience with and the likelihood of future tasting of specific foods were investigated. A group of randomly selected families (nation-wide, stratified, N=1593) with children age 7-17 years were invited and 722 participated. The results are based on the Food and General Neophobia Scales and an ad hoc Food Frequency Questionnaire. The overall levels of food and general neophobia were low. Fathers showed significantly higher total food neophobia scores than did the mothers, and children were significantly more neophobic than their parents. The younger children had higher food and general neophobia scores than the older children. Nine-year-old boys had higher food neophobia scores than 9-year-old girls. Some evidence was found for familial resemblance with respect to both food and general neophobia. Gatekeepers' (the person who takes the greatest responsibility for food purchase and preparation) self-reported serving of the foods and mothers', fathers' and children's self-reported consumption of foods were correlated with their respective levels of food neophobia. The strongly neophobic subjects in all groups of family members were less likely to have eaten the listed foods than were the less neophobic. Thus, food neophobia seems to be related to everyday food choice.

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