Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

Early Childhood Eating Behaviours and Later Food Neophobia at 8 Years of Age: Longitudinal Analyses of Data from the Growing Up in New Zealand Study.

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
University of Auckland
Lead Researcher:
Sarah Gerritsen, Eva Liu, Clare Wall, Amy Lovell, Teresa Gontijo de Castro
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Health and Wellbeing
Secondary Classification:

This research project will explore the eating behaviour of food neophobia in the New Zealand child population, based on the questions asked to parents of children in the Growing Up in NZ longitudinal study at 45-months and 8-years. Food neophobia is the reluctance to eat or the avoidance of novel foods and may arise from various influences including sociodemographic, behavioural and environmental factors.


1. To define food neophobia at 8-years using the food neophobia scale.

2. To determine the sociodemographic characteristics of children with food neophobia at 8-years.

3. To determine the prevalence of earlier eating behaviours at 45-months.

4. To examine the longitudinal relationship and predictors between eating behaviours at 45-months and food neophobia at 8-years.

5. To examine the longitudinal relationship between food neophobia and family meal time behaviours and environments at 45-months and 8-years.


Proposed analyses include creating derived variables, descriptive analyses and multivariable logistic regression.

Anticipated outputs

This project will provide an indicator of the prevalence of food neophobia in the New Zealand child population which is currently unknown. Furthermore, with the representative study sample in Growing Up in NZ, this project will describe the prevalence of food neophobia in Māori, Pacific and Asian child populations (using mother-reported total response ethnicity groups) and identify specific predictors in these groups. This project will examine the longitudinal relationship between these influences and food neophobia to identify the key predictors of food neophobia within the cohort, including earlier eating behaviours and family meal time environments. These anticipated outputs will be useful to future studies using the Growing Up data.