Picky Eating and Sensory Sensitivity in Children

Picky eating is a relatively common problem during childhood, especially for young children. It is often characterized by limited food intake, unwillingness to taste certain foods, strong food preferences, and restricted intake of particular foods, especially vegetables. Picky eaters’ inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables is problematic considering the high rate of childhood obesity in the United States today and its negative effects on overall child health. Therefore, research aimed at understanding picky eating and vegetable acceptance among children is crucial to inform interventions that promote healthier eating habits. My research project aims to expand upon the literature examining the relationship between sensory sensitivity and picky eating in children. Specifically, this study will investigate the role that sensory attributes play in children’s vegetable acceptance. In particular, I plan to examine the relative and interactive effects of odor, texture, and color. We hypothesize that odor and texture will influence food acceptance more than the color of food, that the effects will be additive, and that the degree to which they reduce food acceptance will depend on the child’s picky eating behavior.


  1. It is a fascinating project! The relationship between the sensory sensitivity and picky eating and the focus on the odor and texture of food can be an interesting aspect to research on.

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