Why fussy eater kids are normal
HAVING a “fussy eater” of a child is perfectly normal and parents who offer food rewards and pressure kids to eat may be doing more harm than good.
A new study of Australian parents has found both mothers and fathers push their kids to eat but it can have the opposite effect, making fussy eating worse and increasing poor food choices.
Fussy eating involves the chronic rejection of both new and familiar food and is associated with poor variety and quality of food intake, lead author Holly Harris, from Queensland University of Technology, said.
Dr Harris said fussiness with food is a “normal and transient phase for most children”. Despite this “the stress associated with fussy eating can negatively affect the child, parent, or child-parent relationship regardless of duration,” she said.
Writing in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, she wrote: “Offering foods the child prefers — often energy-dense and nutrientpoor — as a reward for eating disliked foods is thought to reinforce preference for the rewarded food and reduce preference for the disliked — typically nutrient-dense food”.