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Journal Article

Heritability of adult picky eating in the Netherlands


Wesseldijk,  Laura Wendelmoet       
Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam;

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Koenders, E. A., Wesseldijk, L. W., Boomsma, D. I., Larsen, J. K., & Vink, J. M. (2024). Heritability of adult picky eating in the Netherlands. Appetite, 195: 107230. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2024.107230.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000E-64AE-E
Adult picky eating (APE), the rejection of familiar and unfamiliar foods leading to a diet with limited variety, is an understudied phenomenon which can have both physical and psychological negative consequences. The aetiology of individual differences in APE is understudied, although there is reason to believe that it is partly heritable. Therefore, we aimed to estimate the heritability of APE with data from the Netherlands Twin Register (n = 8016) with classical genetic structural equation modelling. In order to use these data, we firstly investigated whether a Food Preference Questionnaire (FPQ) could measure APE with a pre-registered prestudy. Adult participants (n = 414) filled in online questionnaires, including a FPQ and measures related to APE. Spearman's rho correlation quantified the relationship between different elements of the Dutch FPQ and different scores on measures of APE. Results of the prestudy showed that the mean liking score on the FPQ could be used to measure APE (ρ > .50). This measure was then used in the main study to estimate the heritability of APE. Results showed that broad-sense heritability for APE is 49 % (additive genetic effects 14 % (95 % CI [00, 38]) + dominance genetic effects 35 % (95 % CI [11, 52]), while the remaining variance is explained by unique environmental factors. Future studies may focus on uncovering the specific genetic and unique environmental factors that play a role in APE.