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University experts develop new child feeding app

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Child feeding experts from Loughborough University have developed a new app to help the 50% of parents who report having a child who is a fussy eater.

The free app – the first of its kind to be based on scientific research – helps those responsible for feeding children to understand why children are ‘fussy’ and what they can do to improve mealtimes.

Loughborough’s experts have conducted extensive research into children’s eating habits and mealtime behaviour, and have used their combined experience of more than 30 years to develop the Child Feeding Guide app and its accompanying website www.childfeedingguide.co.uk

Both the app and website include an exposure monitor to enable parents to log what their children are eating and when, and provide tips and tools to help encourage children to eat a more varied and balanced diet.

The app, which is available on both iOS and Android, was developed by Drs Emma Haycraft, Gemma Witcomb and Claire Farrow from the University’s Centre for Research into Eating Disorders (LUCRED).

Dr Haycraft explains:

“Our studies show as many as 50% of parents report having fussy eaters and we understand how stressful parents and carers find this behaviour.

“The Child Feeding Guide is a useful tool to help adults manage mealtimes better. By sharing our knowledge and providing practical tips we hope to give parents the support and confidence they need to promote healthy, happy mealtimes.”

The Child Feeding Guide is currently being disseminated through the NHS Start4Life Information Service for Parents, and recently won the Loughborough University Enterprise Award for Social Impact.

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