Taste education – A food-based intervention in a school setting, focusing on children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. A randomized controlled trial

Sigrun Thorsteinsdottir*, Urður Njarðvík, Ragnar Grímur Bjarnason, Anna Sigríður Ólafsdóttir, Urdur Njardvik, Hans Haraldsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children with neurodevelopmental disorders (ND) such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) have high levels of fussy eating. However, no school-based food interventions exist for children with ASD and ADHD. To investigate the effect of Taste Education, 81 children with ND (n = 33), and without (n = 48), aged 8–12 years, and their parents, participated in a 7-week food intervention. Children were matched on age, ND, and sex, and randomized into Immediate-intervention and Delayed-intervention groups. Parents completed the Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ), and a food-variety questionnaire. After adjusting for baseline measures, repeated-measures analysis-of-variance with time-points, and condition as factors (Immediate intervention and Delayed intervention) were used to examine changes in CEBQ-scores, with a robust linear mixed-model fitted. Changes in percentage of accepted foods were tested using a logistic-regression model adjusting for baseline acceptance. Results showed superior results for Intervention compared to waiting, on Food fussiness, but not Enjoyment of food, with stable effects through six-months follow-up. There were non-significant differences between children with and without ND. Results also showed increased odds of accepting vegetables by a factor of 1.6 (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.33–1.93, p < .001); nuts and seeds by a factor of 1.4 (95% CI: 1.27–1.6, p < .001), but no significant association for fruit (OR 1.12, 95% CI: 0.92–1.34, p = .244). Trends were similar for children regardless of ND-status. The Taste Education program, shows promise, as a simple, non-invasive way to decrease fussy eating and increase food variety in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105623
Pages (from-to)105623
JournalAppetite
Volume167
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to extend our gratitude to the University of Iceland's Research fund (doctoral fund and research grant) and the Public Health Fund of the Directorate of Health for their support. We are also grateful to Fjarðarkaup grocery store who provided us with food items for the study and for Ásbjörn Ólafsson wholesale who provided end-of-study gifts for the children. Finally, we would like to express our deep gratitude to all the participants in our study as well as our assistant taste educators.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Other keywords

  • ADHD
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Fussy eating
  • Parent-child dyads
  • School setting
  • Taste education
  • Matvendni
  • Börn
  • Taugaþroskaraskanir
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Food Fussiness
  • Child

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Taste education – A food-based intervention in a school setting, focusing on children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. A randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this