A new study asks the question: could picky eating signal other dangers? Although many doctors as well as parents refuse to acknowledge it, picky eating is not just a normal phase in the development of a child, it is a serious problem and even has an official name by which it can be diagnosed.
The online journal Pediatrics published last week a study according to which, however common picky eating may be, it is actually far from harmless and can lead to bigger, and more profound problems of a psychological nature. The biggest problem that the study talks about is the fact that these eating disorders are taken as normal by most clinicians and even by researchers.
The picky eating problem often appears in younger, preschool-aged kids. Doctors have seen so many cases of this disorder that they have begun to think that it is a normal stage in development. The current research argues that, however common the symptoms are, the underlying conditions should not be taken lightly.
The authors of the study worked with pediatricians from around the country and thus gathered around 900 children. They were interviewed along with their parents about what it was that they usually ate and whether he parents had been having problems with them (since children don’t really like to embarrass their parents).
The results showed 17% of children are showing a moderate type of picky eating, while an extra 3% had the severe form. While in the former, children and parents are having difficulties with the diet of the child, in the latter it is almost impossible to satisfy the child’s eating habits, and oftentimes they refuse to eat anything that is given to them.
The most worrying results are that these children apparently had symptoms of depression as well as anxiety. The results even persisted in the examinations that followed, giving them a 1.7 times increased chance of being depressed.
Furthermore, the study mentions that parents should not feel bad because their kids refuse to eat. It is often a matter of increased sensitivity and disgust aspects that prevents these children from eating normally. The best answer is not to force them or try harder to make them eat the food, as doctors keep suggesting, but to change the foods so that it is more aesthetically pleasing.
Still, the research warns that parents should consult a pediatrician when confronting these problems, and that these doctors should pace the diagnosis of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. A recent study from Canada showed that 63% percent of doctors had no idea this was a real disorder.
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