Are your children fussy or is it just that you’re giving them too much food?
Research commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia found that 82% of mums with young children use the term “fussy” to describe their children’s eating habits. Subsequently, eight out of ten are unsure if their child’s nutritional needs have been met.
Dr Michael Kohn, a leading Sydney paediatrician specialising in children’s eating habits, says that fussy eating and leaving food on the plate is normal behaviour for children.
The 53% of Australian children that leave food on their plate at least half the time, indicates to Dr Kohn that many parents may be offering their children larger than average portion sizes or too much food throughout the day. This can lead to overfeeding and rising stress levels and the development of imbalanced attitudes towards food.
Children develop attitudes towards food and eating patterns very early in life. Those who are regularly offered too much food, or whose parents stress out at meal times, are at greater risk of developing unhealthy eating habits which can persist into adulthood.
Healthy attitudes towards food will develop when parents allow children to choose how much they want to eat from a range of health food options.
If food is rejected, parents should remain calm and not rush of to find an immediate alternative. It’s important that parents continue to offer what they know their child needs, not what their child wants.
Source: The Main Meal
The information provided in this article is intended as a guide only. Always consult your doctor if you or your child is suffering any medical complaint. Any websites referred to by Australian Family contain information moderated by government and medical institutions or organisations.
This article was first published in Australian Family Magazine, May 2008. Updated July 2009.