Children who can be described as “picky eaters” demonstrate food avoidance and usually eat only a limited number of foods. Picky eating behavior is a common childhood disorder and can lead to a breakdown in parent-child interaction. Reasons for picky eating behaviours in children can include:1,2

  • Poor food quality
  • Inappropriate eating behaviours of parents / caregivers
  • Lack of food variety

As one can deduce, there may be significant negative consequences for the child who is a picky eater:1,2

  • Growth-faltering / stunting
  • Failure to gain weight
  • Impaired mental development
  • Loss of weight
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Diminished immunity
  • Increased risk of illness / infection

A child who is a picky eater will show the following behaviours:2

  • Negative reactions to specific foods due to taste, texture, smell and appearance
  • Grimacing, gagging and vomiting
  • Greater interest in playing and talking than eating
  • Easily distracted from eating
  • Crying at the sight of food 
  • Resisting food by crying or refusing to open mouth

Picky eating can be helped. Talk to your healthcare professional and ask about the right nutritional supplement for your child if you suspect your child to be a picky eater.

References: 1. Alarcon PA, Lin L-H, Noche Jr. M, et al. Effect of Oral Supplementation on Catch-Up Growth in Picky Eaters. Clin Pediatr 2003;42:209-217. 2. Kumar KP, Srikrishna S, Pavan I, et al. Prevalence of picky eating behavior and its impact on growth in preschool children. Int J Contemp Pediatr 2018;5(3):714-719.

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