To Your Health
July, 2018 (Vol. 12, Issue 07)
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Don't Pressure Your Picky Eater

By Editorial Staff

Babies can be picky eaters once they transition to solid food, no doubt about it. (So can children of just about any age, as any parent can appreciate.) In many cases, parents resort to pressuring their child to eat when, what and how much they feel is necessary to ensure sound health and eating habits. According to new research, those efforts may be in vain.

The goal of the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Appetite, aimed to determine whether pressuring young picky eaters to eat is effective, and whether picky eating negatively impacts health (in terms of weight / growth) and eating habits. Here's what the study suggests and a few of the conclusions drawn from the study, which focused on toddlers ages 21-33 months:

  • Picky eaters generally remain picky eaters whether or not their parents pressure them.
  • Weight remained stable among picky eaters and non-picky eaters over a one-year period.
  • No associations were noted between pressured feeding and future risk of weight issues or future risk of picky eating.
  • Pressuring tactics may actually increase meal-time tension between parent and child.

picky eater - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark In other words, don't pressure your picky eater! Consider them selective or choosy eaters, terms health care professionals increasingly prefer to use, and instead encourage them to try new / different foods without any pressure tactics. As parents all too often learn the hard way, pressuring your child to do anything often backfires, whether they're a toddler or a teen. Encourage, but don't pressure. Talk to your doctor for more information about raising a healthy child.