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Picky Eating Usually Transient Among Preschool Children

High remittance among picky eaters; group of persistent picky eaters still picky at age 6 years

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Picky eating is usually a transient behavior in early childhood, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Sebastian Cardona Cano, M.D., from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues described the prevalence of picky eating during childhood. Data were included for 4,018 participants of a population-based cohort with measurements from pregnancy onward. Picky eating was assessed when children were aged 1.5, 3, and 6 years old by maternal report.

The researchers found that the prevalence of picky eating was 26.5, 27.6, and 13.2 percent at 1.5, 3, and 6 years, respectively. They defined four main trajectories of picking eating: never picky eating at all three assessments (55 percent of children), remitting (0 to 4 years, 32 percent of children), late-onset (6 years only, 4 percent), and persistent (all assessments, 4 percent). Persistent picky eating was predicted by male sex, lower birth weight, non-Western maternal ethnicity, and low parental income. Late-onset picky eaters were more often children of parents with low incomes and non-Western ethnicity.

“This suggests that picky eating is usually a transient behavior and part of normal development in preschool children,” the authors write.

One author works at a center supported by Nestlé Nutrition, Metagenics, and AXA.

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