Association between taste sensitivity, taste preference, and obesity: study of healthy snacks in children aged 9–14 years

Farapti Farapti, Afifah Nurma Sari, Chusnul Fadilla, Zuraini Mat Issa

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Healthy eating habits are essential to prevent childhood obesity. Children’s eating habits are influenced by many factors, such as taste sensitivity and taste preferences. This study aimed to analyze the correlation between taste sensitivity, taste preference, and obesity in children. This cross-sectional study enrolled 101 healthy children aged 9–14(34 boys and 67 girls). Nutritional status was assessed based on age- and sex-specific BMI z-scores, following CDC Growth Charts. Taste sensitivity was measured using graded sucralose (sweet)/ saline (salty) solution of 0.1709, 0.3418, and 0.6837 mol/L with distilled water (blanks). Taste preferences were assessed using a self-reported questionnaire, the gradation of sugar and salt, and four healthy snacks (two sweet snacks and two salty snacks). Statistical analysis was performed using correlation test. A quarter of the subjects were overweight and obese (25.8%). Most subjects had good taste sensitivity, and it was easier to recognize salty than sweet taste (89.1% vs. 58.4%). Moreover, the sweet taste and sweet food were preferred by almost all subjects. Correlation test showed a correlation between sweet taste sensitivity (r = 0.213; p = 0.032) and sweet preference (r = 0.374; p = 0.029) especially in boys to nutritional status, but not for salty taste. Obesity in children was associated with taste sensitivity and taste preferences especially for sweetness. Presenting healthy foods that consider the daily limit of sugar intake is very important to support optimal nutritional status for children. Graphical Abstract: (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalFood Production, Processing and Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Children
  • Good health
  • Obesity
  • Taste preference
  • Taste sensitivity
  • Well being


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