New Paper: Preadolescents’ taste sensitivity is associated with their eating behaviour

Studies investigating the associations between taste sensitivity and eating behaviour in preadolescent children are still limited. Ervina, ESR2 has peeked into this association by involving 69 children-parents-dyad responses in her study. Her main objective was to explore the association between children’s basic taste sensitivity and their eating behaviour.

Children’s taste sensitivity was measured using the detection threshold method – the level at which the subject starts to “detect” that the sample presented was different from water (reference). A high detection threshold level indicates that the subject is less sensitive towards the taste. Children’s eating behaviour was evaluated using a questionnaire that was completed by their parents. The questionnaire asked parents about their child’s eating behaviour aspects related to food approach and food avoidance behaviour and was completed as an online survey. Children’s BMI was also asked in the questionnaire.

The results indicate that children who were less sensitive to sweet taste had higher emotional overeating scores, which means they will tend to eat more in the presence of negative feelings such as anxiousness, boredom, and anger. Children with low sensitivity to bitterness and sourness had an association with the consumption of sweetened beverages or soft drinks (desire to drink). In addition, children with low sensitivity to bitterness from caffeine tend to eat more and have a big appetite (food responsiveness). The eating behaviour aspects such as emotional overeating, desire to drinks and food responsiveness are related to food approach and the results indicate that low taste sensitivity may be related to food approach behaviour in preadolescent children. Moreover, children’s BMI is closely associated with food approach and negatively correlated with food avoidance behaviour. However, this study was based on a limited number of responses, a future study involving a larger number of participants is suggested to confirm the results.

This study could contribute to the preliminary understanding of the relationships between preadolescents’ taste sensitivity and their eating behaviour. The results could also be implemented in developing strategies to promote healthy eating practices in this age group by taking into account children’s taste sensitivity.

The publication related to this study can be found here:

Ervina E, Berget I, Skeie SB et al. Basic taste sensitivity, eating behaviour, and propensity of dairy foods of preadolescent children: How are they related? [version 1; peer review: 1 approved with reservations]. Open Research Europe 2021, 1:127 (



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