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Picky eating is a problematic eating behavior caregivers may encounter with children under their care. A picky eater (PE) is typically characterized as consuming a narrow range of food, as well as rejecting several food items. Much of the literature regarding PEs involves parents, although use of nonparental childcare arrangements in the United States has increased in the past several decades. Although data on parental mealtime strategies exist, little is known about how parent and childcare provider pickiness perceptions differ between types of childcare, such as center-based childcare (CBCC) and home-based childcare (HBCC), or how these perceptions influence the mealtime strategies utilized. The objectives of this study were to (1) compare perceptions of child pickiness between parents and childcare providers, (2) compare percent agreement in pickiness perception between the dyads of CBCC parents and providers and HBCC parents and providers, and (3) identify mealtime strategy utilization based on pickiness perception. A total of 52 child, parent, and childcare provider triads participated in the study and completed the Mealtime Assessment Survey and the Parent/Teacher Mealtime Strategy Survey regarding the same child. Results showed that parents are 1.4 times more likely than childcare providers to perceive a child as being picky, HBCC parents and providers are 1.4 times more likely to perceive a child as being picky than CBCC parents and providers, CBCC parents and providers disagree more in their perception of child pickiness than HBCC parents and providers (41% vs 26%), and finally, perception of child pickiness has a greater influence on mealtime strategies utilized by parents. These results can be used to focus intervention efforts aimed at improving child eating habits across the home and childcare location.
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