Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stop Nagging Picky Eaters!

Parents who pressure their kids to chow down produce youngsters who are more likely to be picky eaters.
The answers given by 104 mothers of children ages 3 through 6 in the United Kingdom to questions about their kids' behaviors showed that urging them to eat significantly raised the chances the kids would dig in their heels and refuse.
The study, published by My Healthy News Daily, also found that food avoidance was more common in children of certain emotional temperaments, as well as those of parents who use food to shape behavior and don't encourage a varied diet.
"Healthy children are born able to regulate their hunger and fullness," said study author Claire Farrow, a senior psychology lecturer at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, England.
"These findings support other research which has shown that if parents or caregivers override their children's signals of hunger and fullness — as in pressuring the child to eat when not hungry — then often children struggle to regulate their appetite appropriately in the future," Farrow told MyHealthNewsDaily.
And for kids who are already fussy eaters, "the use of pressure to eat can exacerbate problems and conflict at mealtimes," she said.
"If the aim is to get the child to eat more food because the parent wants the child to, then this has shown to be counterproductive. Children should be allowed to stop eating when they are full if they are to be able to regulate their appetites appropriately," she said.
Parents should offer a range of nutritious foods at mealtimes and snacks, and then sit back and let their children take the lead, said Dr. Anne Eglash, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
"However, if the aim is to get the child to try a new food that they do not want to, then some recent research has shown that gentle encouragement and positive reward for trying new foods can be a successful strategy," Farrow said.

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