Is your child constantly pushing away the food on his or her dinner plate? A new study suggests that although picky eating is not necessarily a sign of physical unhealthiness, it could point to future mental health issues.Research published in the Pediatrics Journal suggests that kids with extremely fussy eating habits are twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders as children who have less discriminating palates. Three percent of children are so picky that their symptoms may point to current underlying depression or anxiety.
Most children who have a list of foods they won’t eat are actually normal, doctors say. If your child is open to most foods, but pulls a face at eating beets, there’s probably no cause for concern. However, doctors say that if your child can’t even stand being around certain foods, it could be a sign of something more.
“There's more going on here than just not wanting to eat broccoli," said Dr. Arthur Lavin, a member of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee on psycho-social issues, who worked on the study, which analyzed the eating habits and emotional well-being of 900 children.