A functional description of adult picky eating using latent profile analysis

Jordan M. Ellis, Hana F. Zickgraf, Amy T. Galloway, Jamal H. Essayli, Matthew C. Whited

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Research has indicated that adult picky eating (PE) is associated with elevated psychosocial impairment and limited dietary variety and fruit and vegetable intake; however, research operationalizing PE behaviors is limited. Previous research identified a PE profile in children, marked by high food avoidance (satiety responsiveness, fussiness, and slow eating) and low food approach (food enjoyment and responsiveness) appetitive traits. The present study aimed to replicate a similar latent eating behavior profile in an adult sample. Methods: A sample of 1339 US adults recruited through Amazon's MTurk completed an online survey that included a modified self-report version of the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ-A). Latent profile analysis was employed to identify eating profiles using the CEBQ-A subscales, ANCOVAs were employed to examine profile differences on various self-report measures, and eating profiles were compared across BMI classifications. Results: Analyses converged on a four-profile solution, and a picky eater profile that closely resembled the past child profile emerged. Participants in the picky eater profile (18.1%) scored higher on measures of adult PE and social eating anxiety compared to all other profiles, scored higher on eating-related impairment and depression than moderate eating profiles, and were more likely to be of normal weight. Discussion: A distinct adult PE profile was observed, indicating childhood PE and appetitive behaviors may carry over into adulthood. Research identifying meaningful groups of picky eaters will help to shed light on the conditions under which picky eating is a risk factor for significant psychosocial impairment or distress, or weight-related problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 6 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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