Highlights of the April 2005 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

03/31/05

Does pressure from mom cause picky eating among girls? It may, says a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association

CHICAGO - Many parents are concerned with their children refusing to eat certain foods. And while bouts of independence are part of being a young child, could parental pressure lead to picky eating among kids?

In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers at Appalachian State University found mothers who consumed more fruits and vegetables are less likely to pressure their daughters to eat and their daughters are less picky, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat fewer fats and sweets and are less likely to be overweight.

"Although research on picky eating is limited, recent findings indicate that prior food experience plays a role in picky eating," according to the researchers, who add that duration of breast feeding and mothers' consumption of vegetables are both "negatively related" to picky eating.

The researchers studied dietary patterns of more than 180 girls, at ages 7 and 9, who are taking part in a larger study of the health and development of young girls.

The study found connections between "maternal pressure to eat when girls were 7 and girls' picky eating at age 9, (providing) stronger evidence that the use of parental pressure in feeding may promote both picky eating and lower fruit and vegetable consumption."

Other findings include:

  • All girls consumed low amounts of specific vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin E, calcium and magnesium.
  • Picky eaters consumed significantly less amount of fiber than non-picky eaters.

    The authors suggest parents of young children "should focus less on 'picky eating' behaviors and more on modeling fruit and vegetable consumption for their children."

    Source: Eurekalert & others

    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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