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Appetite. 2012 Jun;58(3):842-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.01.017. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Relationships between sensory sensitivity, anxiety and selective eating in children.

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School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK.


The present study examines whether parental reports of child selective eating are associated with child anxiety and sensitivity to sensory stimuli in their environment. Parents of 95 children aged 5-10 completed questionnaires about child eating behavior, child anxiety and sensory sensitivity. Results indicated that both anxiety and sensory sensitivity were associated with selective eating. In addition, child sensory sensitivity fully mediated the relationship between anxiety and selective eating in children suggesting that it is greater sensitivity to sensory information which explains why more anxious children are more likely to be selective eaters. Further research is necessary to better understand these relationships and indicate whether gradual exposure interventions with children who are sensory sensitive may help to prevent or reduce selective eating.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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