Picky eating is linked with depression, anxiety and other psychological issues, according to a new study
Your child is not eating broccoli, beans or zucchini. Don’t take it too lightly. This can be something bigger than just selective eating.
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Where most of children will change their selective eating habits as they grew up, few won’t. Young picky eaters may have many psychological issues such as depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests.
The study was published in journal Pediatrics and was conducted by the researchers of Duke University. They study involved 900 children of 2 to 6 years of age. They were followed up for more than 2 years.
More than 20% children were found to be selective eaters. About 18% were moderate picky eaters, who eat a limited range of food items. The remaining 3% were severe selective eaters. They only eat selective food items and eat them separately.
Severity of psychiatric issues worsens with the level of selective eating. Severe selective eaters have two times higher risk of increase in depression or social anxiety than moderate selective eaters.
“These are not children who don’t like broccoli and won’t touch a tomato. These are not children who just defy authority, who are not eating what you want them to eat just because. These children are going through a lot of (psychological) issues.”Nancy Zucker, lead author of study said.
The parents usually take a “wait and see” approach. They think kids will grow out of their selective eating habits. the findings suggest medical help for both moderate and severe levels of selective eating. The study further found that mothers of moderate selective eaters were more interested in medical help for themselves than the mothers of severe picky eaters. High levels of anxiety were also observed in the mothers of both groups.