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Changes in Symptoms of Problematic Eating Over 6 Months in Infants and Young Children

Park, Jinhee, PhD, RN; McComish, Cara, PhD, CCC-SLP; Pados, Britt Frisk, PhD, RN, NNP-BC; Estrem, Hayley H., PhD, RN; Thoyre, Suzanne M., PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000128
Original Research/Study

The purpose of this article is to describe changes in problematic eating symptoms across 6 months in children seen in an outpatient feeding clinic and explore child characteristics associated with symptom changes. Participants were 58 parents of children aged 6 months to 7 years of age who were seen in an outpatient feeding clinic. Parents completed an online survey at 3 time points: enrollment and 3 and 6 months later. The survey consisted of the Pediatric Eating Assessment Tool (PediEAT) and a set of questions assessing demographic information, child's medical and feeding history, medical diagnoses, gastrointestinal function, and medications. Linear mixed modeling was used to examine changes in PediEAT total and subscale scores over time and explore associated child characteristics. The PediEAT total score significantly decreased over time with the greatest change in the Physiologic Symptoms subscale. Several child characteristics were associated with more severe symptoms of problematic feeding: older child age, more symptoms of constipation, and diagnoses of speech–language delay, developmental delay, food allergy, and/or genetic disorder. Parent report of child symptoms of problematic eating decreased across 6 months. Associations with child characteristics highlight the complexity of pediatric eating problems and the need for more research on potential factors influencing symptoms of eating problems.

Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (Drs Park and Pados); Department of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine (Dr McComish); University of North Carolina Wilmington School of Nursing (Dr Estrem); and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing (Dr Thoyre).

Correspondence: Jinhee Park, PhD, RN, Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (jinhee.park@bc.edu).

The authors extend their appreciation to pediatric feeding specialist, Krisi Brackett, MS, CCC-SLP, NC Children's Outpatient Center, and to the families who participated in this study.

This project was supported by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Junior Faculty Award (second author).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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