Measurement is the foundation of research and theory on children's eating behaviours: Current issues and directions for progress

C. G. Russell, A. J. Burnett, J. Lee, A. Russell, E. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Eating behaviours affect food intakes and are involved in the aetiology of obesity. There has been impetus to translate findings about children's eating behaviour into intervention and policy programs. However, measurement limitations have hindered our capacity to understand and influence children's eating behaviours. In the present paper we provide an overview of some of the key methodological and measurement issues facing the field of children's eating behaviours and highlight implications for research and health promotion. Drawing on insight from parallel issues that occur in the measurement of early social and emotional development, we examine two overlapping themes in children's (aged 0–∼12 years) eating behaviours (1) measurement issues related to validity and reliability, and (2) associated methodological challenges, such as contextual influences and the importance of designing studies that use multiple informants and multiple methods. We then suggest insights and strategies aimed at advancing approaches to measurement of children's eating behaviours. To progress our understanding of children's eating behaviours, we conclude that a range of psychometrically sound, fit-for-purpose measurement instruments and procedures are needed for use in multi-trait, multi-method, multi-informant studies in a range of populations and contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106546
Number of pages13
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Child
  • Eating behaviour
  • Feeding behaviour
  • Infant
  • Instrument
  • Measurement
  • Method
  • Reliability and validity
  • Reproducibility of results
  • Tool


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