Appetitive characteristics in children with cystic fibrosis: Questionnaire validation and associations with nutritional status

Afroditi Papantoni, Shauna P. Reinblatt, Robert L. Findling, Timothy H. Moran, Peter J. Mogayzel, Susan Carnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Appetitive characteristics are an important factor in the nutritional status of children with cystic fibrosis (CF). We administered a brief parent-report eating behavior questionnaire, validated in healthy children, to determine the relationship between appetitive characteristics and body weight in children with CF. Methods: Parents of children attending the Johns Hopkins Pediatric CF Clinic completed the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ) at a routine clinic visit. Responses were correlated with anthropometric and other clinical data. Results: Parents of 64 children with CF aged 7.74 ± 3.17 years (mean ± SD) completed the CEBQ. The CEBQ subscales demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.76–0.94). Higher scores on food avoidance subscales (Slowness in Eating) were associated with lower body mass index (BMI) z-scores, and higher scores on food approach subscales (Food Responsiveness, Enjoyment of Food, Emotional Overeating) with higher BMI z-scores. Children with feeding aids (i.e. gastric tube or appetite-stimulating medications) demonstrated greater food avoidance (Slowness in Eating) and lesser food approach (Enjoyment of Food) when compared to those without feeding aids. Children with pancreatic insufficiency also demonstrated greater food avoidance (Slowness in Eating). Conclusions: The CEBQ can be used in a clinical setting to identify children with CF with appetitive characteristics associated with difficulty gaining weight. These children could potentially benefit from earlier interventions to aid in weight gain. Characterization of appetite using the CEBQ could aid investigation of the biological etiology of low appetite, and optimization of clinical and parental approaches to achieving a healthy nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-94
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Adiposity
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Eating rate
  • Food reward
  • Satiety responsiveness
  • Underweight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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