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Open AccessArticle

What Can Meal Observations Tell Us about Eating Behavior in Malnourished Children?

1
Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK
2
Child Health, School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122197
Received: 14 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infant and Young Child Feeding)
Responsive feeding is an important aspect of child care, yet little is known about child eating and caregiver feeding behavior in Kenya. This study aimed to develop a mealtime observation methodology and assess child eating and caregiver feeding behavior in healthy and undernourished children in Nairobi. Healthy (n = 6) and undernourished (n = 13) children aged 6–24 months were observed during a meal, with standardized rating of child interest in food, mood, distraction and caregiver responsiveness. Eating and feeding behavior varied with the stage of the meal. Child interest in food decreased and child and caregiver distraction increased as the meal progressed. Healthy children were happy and interested in food during meals, but undernourished children often had low interest in food (7/13). The 7 undernourished children eating home food were distracted (3) and unhappy (5) but children eating ready-to-use therapeutic foods (6) were all happy and undistracted. Caregivers of healthy children offered encouragement more often during meals than caregivers of undernourished children (5/6 healthy, 3/13 undernourished). Meal observations were resource intensive and could give only a snapshot of the child feeding experience. More efficient research methods that can capture a general assessment of infant eating behavior are needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: responsive feeding; eating behavior; malnutrition; appetite; complementary feeding; malnutrition; children responsive feeding; eating behavior; malnutrition; appetite; complementary feeding; malnutrition; children
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mutoro, A.N.; Garcia, A.L.; Wright, C.M. What Can Meal Observations Tell Us about Eating Behavior in Malnourished Children? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2197. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122197

AMA Style

Mutoro AN, Garcia AL, Wright CM. What Can Meal Observations Tell Us about Eating Behavior in Malnourished Children? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(12):2197. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122197

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mutoro, Antonina N.; Garcia, Ada L.; Wright, Charlotte M. 2019. "What Can Meal Observations Tell Us about Eating Behavior in Malnourished Children?" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 12: 2197. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122197

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