Taste sensitivity and taste preference among Malay children aged 7 to 12 years in Kuala Lumpur–a pilot study

Ler Sheang Lim, Xian Hui Tang, Wai Yew Yang, Shu Hwa Ong, Nenad Naumovski, Rati Jani

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Abstract

The taste and food preferences in children can affect their food intake and body weight. Bitter and sweet taste sensitivities were identified as primary taste contributors to children’s preference for consuming various foods. This pilot study aimed to determine the taste sensitivity and preference for bitter and sweet tastes in a sample of Malaysian children. A case–control study was conducted among 15 pairs of Malay children aged 7 to 12 years. Seven solutions at different concentrations of 6-n-propylthiouracil and sucrose were prepared for testing bitterness and sweet sensitivity, respectively. The intensity of both bitter and sweet sensitivity was measured using a 100 mm Labelled Magnitude Scale (LMS), while the taste preference was rated using a 5-point Likert scale. The participants were better at identifying bitter than sweet taste (median score 6/7 vs. 4/7). No significant differences were detected for both tastes between normal-weight and overweight groups [bitter: 350 vs. 413, p = 0.273; sweet: 154 vs. 263, p = 0.068], as well as in Likert readings (bitter 9 vs. 8: p = 0.490; sweet 22 vs. 22: p = 0.677). In this sample of Malay children, the participants were more sensitive to bitterness than sweetness, yet presented similar taste sensitivity and preference irrespective of their weight status. Future studies using whole food samples are warranted to better characterize potential taste sensitivity and preference in children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Reports
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021

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