Infant temperament and mealtime distractions as predictors of preschool Children's bite speed during family mealtime

Sehyun Ju, Samantha Iwinski, Barbara H. Fiese, Brent A. McBride, Kelly K. Bost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eating behaviors are shaped at an early age, persist into adulthood, and are implicated in the development of physical health outcomes, including obesity. Faster bite speed has been identified as an obesogenic eating behavior, prompting researchers to examine child and family factors associated with children's variability in bite speed. Child temperament, involving phenotypes of reactivity and regulation, and distractions in family food contexts are fruitful areas of investigation, but few studies have examined the interplay among these factors and their associations with bite speed. To address the gap in the literature, we examined relations between early child temperament, family mealtime distractions, and children's observed bite speed. Caregiver report of child temperament at 3 months was measured using the Infant Behavior Questionnaire Very Short Form - Revised. Child mealtime distractions and bite speed were assessed using family mealtime videos that were collected during home visits when children were 18–24 months of age (n = 109). Results revealed that children who were reported to be higher on orienting/regulation at 3 months, and who were more distracted during mealtimes at 18–24 months, had relatively slower bite speeds. No significant interactions were found. The findings from this correlational study inform further investigations into the implications of early temperament and food contexts for the development of eating behaviors implicated in obesity risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106157
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Bite speed
  • Child temperament
  • Eating behaviors
  • Family mealtime
  • Mealtime distraction
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • General Psychology


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