Food texture is key to eating habits in children with Down syndrome

November 13, 2022 10:23 p.m. STI

Washington [US], Nov 13 (ANI): Children with Down syndrome prefer crunchy and greasy foods in the mouth and dislike brittle or sticky foods. However, these preferences can lead to a less nutritious diet, according to a new study.
“Kids with Down syndrome really enjoy foods like pirate loot and popcorn,” said Carolyn Ross, a professor in WSU’s School of Food Science, adding, “These foods don’t have a high nutritional value, but they are soluble – a huge plus for these children. Now the challenge is to make nutritious foods with these characteristics.”
The article looked at the food textures children with Down syndrome liked or disliked and how these preferences compared to the preferences of developing children.
In the United States, one in 772 babies (about 5,100 each year) are born with Down syndrome, a genetic condition caused by an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. these individuals.
It’s been known for years that children with Down syndrome don’t eat as much as developing children, but no one has studied food texture as a factor. This research could help clinicians and parents determine which foods will be eaten, while hopefully prompting food manufacturers to tailor products to the specific needs of this population, Ross said.
“It was a huge area of ​​missing research,” Ross said. “There are plenty of anecdotal stories out there, and you can go down a rabbit hole online to find information. But studies like this can help parents and clinicians know what these kids will be most likely to eat. and help reduce the incidence of choking. If we can add nutritional value to these foods, then we will really help a lot of people.”

Choking is a leading cause of death for people with Down syndrome because they may not chew food enough or “pack” it, filling their mouths and cheeks too much without swallowing.
Children with Down syndrome have a variety of health issues, more than usual for children”>developing children, including eating and swallowing problems and food texture sensitivities. Ross wants to help Children with Down Syndrome”> Children with Down Syndrome have healthier food options and become more comfortable with complex textures.
“We want to help people understand which food textures children with Down syndrome prefer, and how to transition them from pureed foods to complex-textured foods, which tend to have more nutritional value,” Ross said.
Ross and his team sent boxes containing 16 types of commercially available foods to 218 children between the ages of 11 and 18 in 30 states. Of these boxes, 111 went to children with Down syndrome”> children with Down syndrome, the rest to a control group of typically developing youngsters.
The boxes contained four items in each of four different texture groups to ensure that flavor was not the reason for a texture preference. The research team asked parents about the flavors they disliked before the boxes were sent out, in order to avoid these products. All of the children in the study ate one of each item every day for a week to ensure the pleasure was not due to the novelty.
The parents then filmed the children interacting with and eating each item, uploading the videos to the research team.
“We coded a lot of data; it’s the biggest home use test involving kids with Down’s syndrome that we’ve ever heard of,” Ross said. “And it showed a big difference in texture preference between children with Down syndrome and without Down syndrome.” (ANI)

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