Picky eating may be negatively associated with growth
Children who are picky eaters have been found to be lighter and shorter for their age, compared to non-picky eaters.1
Picky eating may lead to nutrient deficiencies or inappropriate balance of nutrients in the diet of a child. Some children may consume adequate calories, but the diet may be insufficient in vital nutrients. Over time, this may impact growth and development.
Picky eaters could be missing out on key nutrients essential for optimal physical and mental development. This may result in the following undesirable consequences:
Prone to illness
Is your child a picky eater?
A study by the National University Hospital of Singapore found that 1 in 2 parents in Singapore identified their children as picky eaters, and picky eating was first noticed as early as one year old.* Below is a list of picky eating behaviours to look out for:
- Refuses food, especially vegetables and meat
- Eats slowly or hold food in the mouth
- Pushes, hides or throws food during mealtime
- Eats sweets and fatty foods instead of healthy foods
- Resists trying new foods
- Snacks instead of eating a meal
- Eats the same food for all the meals
- Often throws tantrums during mealtimes
* Goh DY, Jacob A. Asia Pac Fam Med.2012;11:5
Tips for dealing with picky eaters
Avoid distractions during mealtimes
Tolerate age-appropriate messiness during mealtimes
Maintain a neutral attitude during mealtimes
- Do not get overly excited or animated.
- Never become or even appear angry.
Introduce novel food
- Expose your child to new food one at a time.Try the new food up to 15 times before assuming it will not be taken.
Feed to encourage appetite
- Allow 3-4 hour interval and provide only water between meals/snacks.
- Limit meal duration to 20-30 minutes.
Talk to a healthcare professional
- If picky eating persists, ask your doctor for advice and check if there are any underlying problems.
Encourage independent feeding
- Your child should have his/ her own cutlery and be encouraged to feed himself/ herself.
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