Jennifer L Goodin
Field, D., Garland, M., & Williams K. (2003). Correlates of Specific Childhood Feeding Problems. J. Paediatr. Child Health, 39, 299-304.
This article looks at children with specific feeding problems to
try to find if there are any underlying factors that predispose them to their feeding problems. The researchers identified
five different types of feeding problems that could be identified. These feeding problems were food refusal, food selectivity
by type, food selectivity by texture, oral motor delays, or dysphagia. The possible predisposing factors that they looked
at were developmental disabilities, gastrointestinal problems, cardiopulmonary problems, neurological problems, renal problems,
and anatomical anomalies.
The study used 349 children from the ages of 1 month to 12 years.
All of these children were identified as having feeding problems and were referred for an interdisciplinary evaluation.
The records of these children were then studied over a 30 month period.
The feeding problems were determined to be of an organic nature,
functional nature, or a combination of the two. It was concluded that most of these feeding problems are the result
of two or more factors and are often the result of the environment and biology.
Environmental factors were often seen in children who refused to
eat food or food of a certain texture. These children had their behaviors maintained by caregivers who gave desired
attention to the child by coaxing and begging them to eat.
It was determined that 64% of the children in this study had a developmental
disability of varying severity. The researchers separated three subgroups of developmental disabilities in this study
those groups were; autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.
It was determined that for children with autism spectrum disorders
the most common type feeding problem was selectivity by type and texture. The results for children with Down syndrome
and cerebral palsy were similar. Children with these conditions (Down syndrome and cerebral palsy) showed delays in
oral motor skills. Children who exhibited problems with food refusal and dysphagia commonly had reflux problems.
The researchers concluded that certain medical conditions and developmental delays could often play a part in a child’s
feeding problems. They believe that these associated problems are important to understand because as medicine
continues to advance the life span of children with severe disabilities may also increase and this will been seen in a raise
in children with feeding problems. It is important for us to know how these different conditions can affect their feeding
and ability to thrive. This information can help determine the best way to treat these children. Being able to
determine if their feeding problems are biological or environmental we have a starting place to help them.