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Feature Article

Fussy eating

Eve Reed

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Abstract

Fussy eating is common in young children and often concerns parents. Conducting a growth and nutritional assessment and educating parents about the nutritional needs of their children are the roles of health professionals faced with parents concerned about their children’s eating habits.

Key Points

  • Children’s growth is a sensitive predictor of their nutritional status, health and psychosocial environment.
  • Assessment of growth is an important first step in deciding whether a child has a nutritional or medical problem.
  • Children are less likely to eat foods that they have been forced or coerced to eat.
  • The fussy eater is often eating more than is required of one or two food groups at the expense of other food groups.
  • Parents can help their children’s eating by eating with them, offering a variety of foods in appropriate amounts and, most importantly, letting their children help themselves to the food provided.

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