Picky eaters are born or made

Ann Arbor (AP) - Small children who eat poorly may not change this behavior later on. However, parents usually do not have to worry about being too low, as a new study shows.

"There are often uncomfortable eating children and parents often hear that this will grow out. But that's not always true," said the behavioral scientist and pediatrician Megan Pesch of the University of Michigan.

According to a study published by a team of scientists led by Pesch in the specialist journal "Pediatrics", even if a child is still picky about eating when they are still at school, the chances are still very good that they will maintain a healthy body weight. They usually did not develop underweight and also have a lower chance of becoming overweight than children who are not so picky about food.

For the study, the scientists observed 317 mothers and their children from households with low incomes for four years. The children were between four and nine years old and the families reported on the children's eating habits and their parents' attitudes to it. Children who were picky eaters in preschool age stayed that way even in school age. By the age of four, the behavior could have already established itself, it said.

The more parents tried to control the children's eating behavior, the more picky they could become, said Pesch. The most picky eaters in the study were exposed to the greatest pressure from parents. "We found that the children who eat very grubby have mothers who have reported more restrictions on unhealthy foods and sweets. These mothers may be trying to shift their children's preferences towards healthier diets. But they may not always have the desired effect, "said Pesch.

"We want parents to offer children a wide range of foods to choose from at a very young age, but our study found that they can take a less controlling approach." However, more research is needed, among other things to better understand how limited food choices for children will affect their growth in the long term.