Why fussy eater kids are nor­mal

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SNITCH - CHANEL ZAGON

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”.

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