Parenting
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
2 in 3 Parents Would Send Kids to School in Fall: SurveyShould You Send Your Kid to Summer Camp? Expert Offers AdvicePractice Gun Safety for Your Kids' Sake, Especially During PandemicDon't Let COVID-19 Scuttle Your Child's Health ExamsAdult Life Tougher for Teens Who Had Controlling Parents: StudyAbout 1 in 15 Parents 'Hesitant' About Child Vaccines: SurveyStay-at-Home Orders Could Mean More Obese Kids: StudyParents Unaware of Young Kids' Smartphone Use: Study6 Expert Tips for Defusing Kids' Quarantine MeltdownsFor Many Kids, Picky Eating Isn't Just a Phase, Study FindsSure-Fire Solutions for Managing Lockdown Temper TantrumsPandemic Has Overburdened Parents Stressed Out: PollKeeping Kids Slim, Fit During Lockdown Isn't Easy: Here Are Some TipsPets May Help Parents of Kids With Autism Fight StressBest Ways to Help Kids Through the PandemicCalm Parenting Will Help Children Through Coronavirus PandemicKids of Mentally Ill Parents Have Higher Injury OddsSchool Closures Could Be Adding to Kids' WaistlinesWhy Your Kids' Playground Is Unsafe During COVID-19 PandemicWhy Teens Find It Tough to Social DistanceGoing Easy on Yourself Is Key to Parenting Through the PandemicA Parent's Guide to Fighting Coronavirus StressHow to Keep Housebound Kids Busy During a PandemicCalming Your Child's Coronavirus FearsPick Summer Camps Carefully When Your Kid Has Allergies, AsthmaKeep Your Kids Safe, Warm in Wintertime FunGot 'Couch Potato' Teens? It's Not Helping Their Mental Health8 Ways to Make Every Day a Valentine For Your KidsWhat Parents Can Do to Prevent Teens From Driving DrunkWhy Are Fewer U.S. Kids Going to Pediatricians?Parents Can Help Their Sleep-Deprived TeensHealth Tip: What Your Child Can do About BullyingHealth Tip: Safety Steps if Your Child is Home AloneHealth Tip: Is My Child Too Sick to Go to School?Slow Down and Enjoy a Safe ChristmasHealth Tip: Choosing a Pediatrician'Don't Give Up:' Parents' Intuition Spots a Rare Illness Before Doctors DoNature Nurtures KidsWhen Your Teen Wants a TattooTough Childhoods Can Leave a Lifetime of Harm, Experts SayMany U.S. Parents Can't Find a Psychiatrist to Help Their ChildCheck Those Halloween Treats So They're Safe to EatHow Young Is Too Young to Leave Kids Home Alone?How to Keep Halloween Fun and SafeTrying to Conceive? Both Dad and Mom Should Give Up Drinking in Months BeforePaper Books Beat Tablets for Parent-Child Interactions, Study FindsA Good Night's Sleep Is Key to School SuccessDon't Let Kids Wander Alone in Parking LotsMost U.S. Parents Say Vaccination Should Be Requirement for School: PollNurturing Childhood Boosts Odds of a Happy Adult Life: Study
LinksSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Family & Relationship Issues
Internet Addiction and Media Issues
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

For Many Kids, Picky Eating Isn't Just a Phase, Study Finds

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 26th 2020

new article illustration

TUESDAY, May 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For parents hoping their "picky" eater will grow out of it, a new study may be unwelcome news.

Researchers found that choosy 4-year-olds were still turning their noses up at many foods at age 9 -- suggesting their finicky eating is more of a trait than a phase.

The study, which followed over 300 children, found three patterns: The majority were consistently middle-of-the-road when it came to food fussiness -- sometimes shunning unfamiliar cuisine, but remaining relatively open to trying new foods.

A sizable minority (29%) consistently ate everything their parents offered up.

Then there was the picky 14%. From age 4 to 9, they routinely refused new foods and maintained a limited culinary repertoire.

Still, researchers saw bright spots in the findings, published May 26 in the journal Pediatrics.

For one, there were no signs that picky eaters were underweight. And the fact that the fussiness seems to be a trait -- and not a failure on the parents' part -- might bring some solace.

"It can be very stressful for parents to deal with a picky eater," noted senior researcher Dr. Megan Pesch, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.

But if parents think they did something wrong to cause it, she added, these findings suggest otherwise.

"It's not your fault," Pesch said. "It seems to be part of a child's disposition."

Nor do the findings mean that parents cannot do anything about picky eating, she stressed. The study merely followed families to see what happened naturally -- and did not test any intervention to change kids' habits.

What does seem clear is that mealtime ultimatums do not help.

In this study, mothers of picky eaters reported more efforts to control what their child consumed -- including limits on sugary, fatty foods. (When kids are high on the finicky scale, Pesch noted, they often stick to those types of foods.)

Despite those battles, children's fussiness held strong.

In fact, coercion is probably destined to fail, according to Nancy Zucker, director of the Duke Center for Eating Disorders at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Zucker, who wrote an editorial published with the study, pointed to one of its key findings. Based on mothers' responses to a standard questionnaire, the pickiest eaters also tended to be emotionally reactive in general.

And those kids will not respond well to dinner-table demands -- "It won't work," Zucker said. "These children will just shut down."

She agreed that the findings suggest picky eating is a trait.

"These kids may be more harm-avoidant," Zucker said. "And when you think about it, eating is breaking a barrier -- allowing something into your body. These children hold back when everyone else is running to the food."

So what can parents do?

Zucker said that making meals a pleasant experience may at least brighten children's moods around food. And that could, at some point, ease their boundaries.

Including kids in shopping and meal preparation, Zucker said, is one way to make it more enjoyable for them.

Pesch agreed, adding that simple exposure may help, too. That is, keep making varied meals for the family so that the picky eater gets used to the sights and smells.

"But keep it low-pressure," Pesch said. "Don't try to force them to 'clean their plates.' "

The study included 317 mother-child pairs who were followed from the time the child was about 4 until age 9. Mothers completed a "food fussiness" questionnaire, and 14% of kids scored high enough, and consistently enough, to be deemed persistently picky.

What's the harm in being a picky eater? This study found no weight consequences: Finicky kids tended to weigh less than those who liked lots of foods -- but they were not underweight.

There is, however, a concern, Zucker said, about the nutritional quality of their diets, as well as problems like chronic constipation.

Pesch also pointed out that the study looked at run-of-the-mill picky eating -- where kids adhere to childhood favorites like mac and cheese, hot dogs and cereal. If a child is severely limiting food intake, she said, parents should talk to their pediatrician.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has advice for parents of picky eaters.




328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Monroeville,
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203
Fax:(251)575-9459


powered by centersite dot net