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Overcoming fussy eating

A young child in a high chair eating a plate of fruit

As part of Loughborough University’s Children and Young People campaign, two researchers share their expertise and knowledge on children’s eating habits and how these can change in predictable yet frustrating ways as children develop cognitive awareness around food, often leading to food refusal.

In this episode of the Experts in Sport podcast, a regular series hosted by Loughborough University’s Martin Foster (Applied Sport Management Lead), we welcome Professor Emma Haycraft and Dr Gemma Witcomb, co-creators of the Child Feeding Guide, to discuss their research into fussy eating.

The podcast also details various effective methods that parents or caregivers can use to manage this change. Fussy eating is really common, yet it can be concerning if a child is refusing foods, so Emma and Gemma shared tips for people to try.

Repeatedly offering a food and eating foods with children (role modelling) were both highlighted as beneficial ways to help children learn to like a variety of foods.

Additionally, both guests detail their experience creating the Child Feeding Guide. They talk about its goal, as an award-winning tool, to support parents and caregivers with feeding children, as well as being of value to childcare and health professionals. 

Emma Haycraft is Professor of Psychology and Public Health within the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences (SSEHS). She has been conducting research into children’s eating behaviours and caregiver feeding practices for twenty years, and is keen to share research findings with caregivers and professionals to support the development of dietary variety in children and young people.

Gemma Witcomb is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology within the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences (SSEHS) and the Learning and Teaching Discipline Group Lead for Psychology. She is a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also a Mum of two children – one of whom is sensorily-fussy and a restrictive eater – and a step-mum to two more.

Listen to the full episode online, on iTunesSpotify, and TuneIn.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly. Listeners of the podcast can subscribe and download the latest episode by visiting iTunes, Spotify, and TuneIn. All subscribers will receive an alert once new episodes are published.