Children's Mealtime Study

Who Can Participate? 

We are looking for children ages 3-8 yrs who have intellectual/developmental delays (I/DD) OR who are typically developing. 

Children’s Mealtime Study Overview 

The goal of our study is to learn about children’s eating patterns, mealtime behaviors, and parent feeding practices. We are interested in having families participate regardless of whether they have concerns about their children’s nutrition. 

What is involved?

The study consists of one (1) study visit that lasts approximately 2 - 3 hours and the completion of a 3-day food record at home. 

At the study visit

Parents will:

  • complete questionnaires on basic demographics, family information, children’s physical activity habits, mealtime routines, food intake, and mealtime behaviors
  • complete questionnaires on their own food intake, feeding practices, and parenting stress
  • be weighed and measured
  • for parents of children with I/DD, parents will be asked to complete questionnaires and an interview about their child’s adaptive, developmental, and social behavior

Children will:

  • be weighed and measured
  • if your child had I/DD, we will administer a cognitive test to confirm that he/she meets our study criteria
  • while you are doing the questionnaires your child will be able to play or watch a DVD

At home

  • Parents will keep a 3-day food record, which involves writing down everything the child eats over three days. Instruction/teaching will be provided during the study visit.
  • If there is another parent/adult in the home we will also ask them to complete a food frequency questionnaire that asks about their food intake/preferences, and to report their height and weight.


Parents and children are compensated up to $100 in gift cards for their participation in the study (up to $85 for parents and $15 for children).

Why participate?

We know that good nutrition is important for children’s health and development. In the Children’s Mealtime Study we are particularly interested in what affects the health of children with intellectual/developmental delays (I/DD). Our study seeks to learn about what children eat, their behavior at meals, and what family mealtimes are like. We will be studying both children with I/DD and typically developing children.

Dr. Linda Bandini, the study’s principal investigator, has 25 years of experience conducting research in nutrition and physical activity for children and adolescents.

Where does the research take place?

  •  Charlestown, MA at the UMass Medical School E.K. Shriver Center - 465 Medford St., Suite 500
  • Worcester, MA at the UMass Medical School E.K.Shriver Center - 55 Lake Avenue North, S3-301
  • Local library or your home
  • At other designated locations

How do I learn more?

Research Assistant 

Download the Children's Mealtime Study brochure

UMMS IRB Docket # H-00001420 

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