Does your child refuse to even sit next to certain foods? If yes, then you have reason you worry. But if a child only refuses to eat their greens, chances are they’re emotionally and mentally healthy.
While only a small number of study participants have shown symptoms of anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorder (ADHD), parents are being advised to keep a close eye on their little ones while they’re going through their picky eating faze.
Researchers from the Duke University School of Medicine tested 900 children between the age of 2 and 5. They went to their homes to conduct interviews with the parents so that they could learn what the children’s eating habits were, as well as identify potential mental health problems that the subjects may be vulnerable to.
Two (2) years late, two hundred (200) of these subjects were chosen for a follow-up interview.
The study has found that super selective eaters, a group of children who dislike even being near certain foods, are very likely to suffer from underlying symptoms of anxiety and / or depression. Good news is that this is a very restricted group as only 3 percent (3%) of the subjects matched this description.
“Moderate selected eating”, refers to a group of children who are a little more accepting. While they only insist on eating a pretty small range of foods, they don’t find it hard to sit next to foods that they dislike (as long ad they don’t have to eat them). This group is somewhat larger as 18 percent (18%) of the subjects matched this description.
There is however a dangerous common ground between super selective eaters and moderately selective eaters. Both groups of children were two (2) times more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety within the two (2) years between interviews, when compared to typical, or normal picky eaters.
On top of this, moderately selective eaters have also proven to be more likely to experience separation anxiety and / or attention deficit disorder (ADHD) within the same two (2) years.
Normal picky eaters were dubbed by the researchers the “normal dislike” group. These are the children who generally reject vegetables and fruits, but have no trouble eating anything else.
Nancy Zucker, associate professor of psychiatry from the Duke University School of Medicine and study lead author, offered a statement explaining that these children generally outgrow their pickiness once they begin to mature.
She went on to inform that super selective eaters are a lot less likely than moderately selective eaters to outgrow their picky eating, but also acknowledged that further tests need to be conducted to asses what the precise odds are.
The study was published earlier this month, on August 3, 2015, in the medical journal Pediatrics.
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