J Korean Diet Assoc.  2020 Nov;26(4):289-305. 10.14373/JKDA.2020.26.4.289.

Assessment of Nutritional Status and Food Sources of Significant Nutrients with Picky Eating Behavior in Preschoolers

  • 1Dept. of Food & Nutrition, Duksung Women’s University, Seoul 01369, Korea


Picky eating behavior is a significant factor in causing unhealthy eating and disturbing the growth of children. This study examined picky eating behaviors and food intake of 112 preschoolers aged 3∼5 year, picky eaters (n=41) and non-picky eaters (n=71), living in Dobong-gu, Seoul metropolitan area, South Korea. Picky eating questionnaires and three consecutive 24-hour dietary recalls were collected from their caregivers. The difference between the two groups was verified using a Chi-square test or t-test and Pearson’s correlation. Compared to the non-picky eaters, fussiness, satiety responsiveness, and refusal of food variety were significantly higher in picky eaters (P<0.001). Compared to the non-picky eaters, an assessnent of the preschooler’s behavior and the caregivers’ perception were positively correlated in picky eaters (r=0.749, P<0.001). The intakes of shellfish (P<0.05), vegetables (P<0.001), fiber, vitamin E (P<0.01), vitamin A, and folate (P<0.05) were significantly lower in picky eaters than the non-picky eaters. The major food sources of vitamin A and folate were vegetables, of which grains were the source of fiber, fats and oils were the source of Vitamin E, and root vegetables were source of vegetables in both picky and non-picky eaters. In conclusion, picky eating behaviors are related to different fussiness and slowness in eating. Therefore, it is suggested to increase the amount of meal and vegetable intake in picky eaters.


picky eating behavior; preschooler; food intakes; food source; nutritional status
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