Kids’ picky eat­ing may link to de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Picky eat­ing among chil­dren may not be just a pass­ing phase but could flag po­ten­tial con­cerns such as de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, a study re­leased Mon­day found.

Ac­cord­ing to the Duke Medicine re­port in the jour­nal Pe­di­atrics, more than 20 per­cent of chil­dren aged 2-6 are picky eaters.

About 18 per­cent of those were clas­si­fied as mod­er­ately picky and another 3 per­cent as ex­tremely so.

It was in these sub­sets — kids who are mod­er­ately or se­verely fussy about the foods they eat — that sci­en­tists found greater oc­cur­rence of men­tal health is­sues such as clin­i­cal de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety.

Since picky eat­ing can also cause poor nutri­tion and fam­ily con­flict, the re­port said, it ap­pears im­por­tant for par­ents and med­i­cal staff to keep an eye on a risk of un­der­ly­ing emo­tional is­sues.

“These are chil­dren whose eat­ing has be­come so lim­ited or se­lec­tive that it’s start­ing to cause prob­lems,” said lead au­thor Nancy Zucker, di­rec­tor of the Duke Cen­ter for Eat­ing Dis­or­ders.

“Im­pair­ment can take many dif­fer­ent forms. It can af­fect the child’s health, growth, so­cial func­tion­ing, and the par­ent-child re­la­tion­ship. The child can feel like no one be­lieves them, and par­ents can feel blamed for the prob­lem.”

Chil­dren whose picky eat­ing be­comes a se­ri­ous chal­lenge also may have what doc­tors now call “Avoidant/Re­stric­tive Food In­take Dis­or­der.”

Men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als be­lieve they can help some of these chil­dren with be­hav­ioral ther­apy over foods that may cause them anx­i­ety.

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