Study objective. To investigate calorie intake, behavioral eating styles, and parent perception of eating behavior of preschool children with cystic fibrosis (CF) compared with healthy peers.

Design. A two group comparison study.

Setting. A clinical sample of 32 preschool children with CF (aged 2 to 5 years) and a community sample of 29 healthy peers matched for age and socioeconomic status.

Measurements and main results. The two groups did not differ on the total number of calories consumed per day or the percentage of calories derived form fat. The CF sample achieved a significantly higher percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of energy (95% RDA) than the control group (84% RDA), P < .05, but did not achieve the CF dietary recommendations of 120% RDA. On measures of behavioral eating style, the CF sample had significantly longer meals (24.63 min) than the control group (18.57 min), P < .01, but did not differ on pace of eating or calories consumed per bite. On a measure of parent report of mealtime behavior, parents of the CF sample identified mealtime behaviors of "dawdles" and "refuses food" as more problematic (M = .93) than parents of control children (M = .22), P < .05.

Conclusions. While preschool children with CF consume as much or more than healthy peers, they are not achieving the CF dietary recommendations. Furthermore, there appear to be behavioral differences in eating and parent perception of CF children's eating that may contribute to the failure to achieve dietary recommendations.

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