Date of Award

Winter 12-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Food fussiness (FF), or the frequent rejection of both familiar and unfamiliar foods, is a common problem among children. Given its link to poor diet quality, higher FF may contribute to the onset and/or maintenance of childhood obesity; however, most literature concentrates on under- or normal-weight children. The current study aimed to examine the role of child FF in association with anthropometric and diet quality variables in children with obesity seeking family-based behavioral weight loss treatment (FBT). Further, change in FF was assessed in relation to FBT outcome, including whether change in diet variables mediated the relation between change in FF and change in weight. Children entering a 4-month multi-site trial utilizing FBT were assessed at baseline and post-treatment (N=170). At both time points, child height and weight were measured and used to calculate standardized Body Mass Index (zBMI). Parents also completed the FF subscale of the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ) and three 24-hour dietary recalls. Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI) component and total scores, which measure diet quality in terms of conformance with federal guidelines, were calculated. At baseline, child FF was not associated with zBMI or overall diet quality, but was related to lower vegetable intake. Average child FF decreased following treatment and greater decreases in FF were associated with greater reductions in zBMI, improved overall diet quality, and increased fruit consumption. Overall diet quality change, but not fruit intake, mediated the relation between child FF change and zBMI change. Obesity treatment-seeking children with higher baseline FF demonstrate lower intake of healthy vegetables. FBT appears to reduce child FF, and reductions in FF may yield greater weight loss, seemingly through improved diet quality. Overall diet quality is a relevant target for influencing child weight, particularly in children high in FF.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Denise Wilfley

Committee Members

Desiree White Lori Markson


Permanent URL:

Available for download on Sunday, December 16, 2040