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Is Picky Eating a Sign of Something More?

Parents aren’t unfamiliar with their kids’ eating habits. And whether your kids are the type who eat everything (lucky you) or they’re the kind that won’t touch a single thing that’s not shaped like a dinosaur, you’re probably just dealing with a temporary phase. Like adults, children all have their preferences. But as the instances of eating disorders rise in children, keeping an eye on your kids’ eating habits isn’t a bad idea.

Eating disorders are complex psychological and biological issues. Diet and nutrition are just one small part of the bigger picture. Don’t just concentrate on what they’re eating. Keep an eye on their weight, too. Are they exercising excessively? Are they suddenly obsessed with their body image? If you notice any of those things in conjunction with excessively picky eating, you might be seeing the beginnings of an eating disorder.

Studies show that eating disorders are just as inheritable as other mental disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, so if your family history has evidence of eating disorders, there’s a chance that your child may be predisposed to having one, too. If picky eating becomes more than just a temporary phase and you feel as though it’s about to amount to more, make sure that you and your pediatrician work together to monitor your child’s weight and development. Keep an eye out for behavior like cutting food into very small pieces, cutting food up just to move it around their plates or chewing food and spitting it out.

More often than not, picky eaters really are just going through a phase and they’ll eventually learn to find foods that they enjoy while having healthy, balanced meals. It’s important to remember, however, that if you feel that something is wrong with your child’s diet or suspect that a very serious illness is developing, you should trust your instincts and continue to be diligent. By closely monitoring your child’s behavior and keeping close contact with his or her doctor and doing your own research, you could catch the disorder early on or breathe a sigh of relief when your kids start eating green food.

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