What Influences Fussy Eaters

It’s normal for toddlers to be fussy eaters, but when the behavior extends into school years it can be very hard for both parents and kids.

Australian researchers reviewed a number of studies about kids under age 10 and found a range of things that can contribute to a child’s chances of being a fussy eater. Specifically, they found that pressuring a child to eat, offering rewards for eating, and very strict parenting all negatively influence fussy eaters.

On the other hand, a more relaxed parenting style, eating together as a family, and involving a child in the preparation of food all reduced the likelihood of fussy eating. Lead researcher Laine Chilman adds, “Some of [the] preferences [of a picky eater] related to a child’s characteristics or personality, which are difficult to change, if at all. But others are external factors that could help reduce fussy eating in kids. Eating together as a family, with siblings, and having a single meal at a regular time all helped reduce food fussiness.”  (EurekAlert!