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Eating behaviours in children with Down syndrome: Results of a home-use test

J Texture Stud. 2022 Jun 13. doi: 10.1111/jtxs.12703. Online ahead of print.


Children with Down syndrome (DS) display a disproportionate number of health challenges, including feeding and swallowing difficulties and food texture sensitivities. To start to address food texture challenges early in life, the aim of this research was to understand mealtime behaviours and identify preferred food textures of children with DS. Children (ages 11 to 58 months) with DS (n=111) and without (typically developing, TD; n=107) participated in a home use test evaluating snack products of varying textures. Parents recorded their children’s reactions to each food product; a panel of trained coders coded videos for mealtime behaviours. Children were also identified as food texture sensitive (TS) or non-texture sensitive (NTS). Results showed that age, TS, the presence of a DS diagnosis and the TS*DS interaction influenced the child’s behaviours to the food products. Children with DS were more likely to increase distance from the food, mouth/suck on the food, and less likely to chew/much on the food compared to children TD. Children with DS also ate significantly less than typically developing children. Similar mealtime behaviours were observed between the children with TD/<30 months of age and children with DS regardless of age (p<0.05). While children with DS/TS had a higher disposition for the dissolvable texture, along with products that were salty and cheesy, children with DS/NTS had a greater tolerance for more textures in general, including crunchy and grainy. Overall, this research identified mealtime behaviours in children with DS, determined overall disposition of children with DS to foods of differences sensory properties, and demonstrated the influence of TS on a child’s disposition to a food. This research will be extended to develop acceptable and innovative food products for children with DS/TS. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:35696524 | DOI:10.1111/jtxs.12703

By Nevin Manimala

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