Classifying and characterizing Chinese young adults reporting picky eating: A latent profile analysis

Jinbo He, Hana F. Zickgraf, Jamal H. Essayli, Xitao Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: Picky eating (PE) is common across the lifespan and related to psychosocial impairment and limited dietary variety. However, research about PE in non-Western countries is limited. Because eating behaviors may differ by culture, operationalizing PE in non-Western countries (e.g., China) is needed. The present study aimed to replicate two previous studies identifying PE profiles in Western countries by using latent profile analysis (LPA) to classify and characterize adults reporting picky eating in a Chinese sample. Method: A sample of 1,068 Chinese young adults completed a battery of questionnaires including the adult eating behavior questionnaire (AEBQ). LPA was utilized to identify eating profiles. The three-step approach was used to examine predictors of latent memberships and profile differences on various self-reported measures. Results: The best fit was a four-profile solution, with two picky eating profiles emerging: picky eating and severe picky eating. Compared to those in the other two profiles, participants in the picky eating profile (19.4%) and severe picky eating profile (3.3%) had significantly higher scores on self-reported eating disorder symptoms and psychological distress, and lower scores on self-reported food-related life satisfaction. Relative to the picky eating profile, participants in the severe picky eating profile reported significantly greater self-reported eating disorder symptoms, psychological distress, and food-related dissatisfaction. Discussion: Characterizing PE profiles is an important step toward understanding eating behaviors among Chinese young adults. Identifying various eating profiles has implications for future research related to PE, including the development of diagnostic tools and interventions to address PE in a Chinese context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-893
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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