Experts in sport podcast

Experts in Sport: Overcoming fussy eating

In this episode of the Experts in Sport podcast, host Martin Foster sits down with Professor Emma Haycraft and Dr Gemma Witcomb, co-creators of the Child Feeding Guide, to discuss their research into fussy eating.

Part of the Children and Young Person's campaign

As part of Loughborough University’s Children and Young People campaign, the two researchers shared their expertise and knowledge on children’s eating habits and how these can change in predictable yet frustrating ways as children develop cognitive awareness around food, often leading to food refusal.

The podcast also details various effective methods that parents or caregivers can use to manage this change. Fussy eating is really common, yet it can be concerning if a child is refusing foods, so Emma and Gemma shared tips for people to try.

Repeatedly offering a food and eating foods with children (role modelling) were both highlighted as beneficial ways to help children learn to like a variety of foods.

Additionally, both guests detail their experience creating the Child Feeding Guide. They talk about its goal, as an award-winning tool, to support parents and caregivers with feeding children, as well as being of value to childcare and health professionals. 

Emma Haycraft is Professor of Psychology and Public Health within the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences (SSEHS). She has been conducting research into children’s eating behaviours and caregiver feeding practices for twenty years, and is keen to share research findings with caregivers and professionals to support the development of dietary variety in children and young people.

Gemma Witcomb is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology within the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences (SSEHS) and the Learning and Teaching Discipline Group Lead for Psychology. She is a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also a Mum of two children - one of whom is sensorily-fussy and a restrictive eater - and a step-mum to two more.

Listeners of the podcast can subscribe and download the latest episode by visiting iTunes, Spotify, and TuneIn. All subscribers will receive an alert once new episodes are published.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.

For the next few weeks, the University’s PR team will be shining a light on research and expertise that is improving and enhancing the lives of children and young people. Keep an eye out on Twitter and TikTok for the latest Children and Young People campaign news by searching #LboroExperts. Or visit the Media Centre for the latest campaign and University news.


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/49

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. ‌

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.