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Forcing 'picky eaters' to try food they do not like 'makes them more likely to become anxious'

posted Sep 19, 2015, 6:58 PM by Chris Fortune

Researchers find anxiety caused by food neophobia - the fear of tasting new things - could be made worse by parents frustrated by 'picky eater' children

Making young children eat food they have not tried before could do them more harm than good, new research warns.

The study suggests it could lead to the youngsters growing up to be anxious adults with low self-esteem.

Researchers found that anxiety caused by food neophobia - the fear of tasting new things - could be made worse by parents who become evermore frustrated by children who they perceive as "picky eaters".They also found that neophobic children generally had higher anxiety levels and lower self-esteem than their peers. The researchers urged parents to be patient with youngsters they considered to be fussy eaters.

Two and three year-olds rejecting unfamiliar foods is a typical phase in child development, that most grow out of after the age of five. But children who suffer from neophobia show signs of anguish and anxiety that can develop into a habit in adulthood.