Picky Eaters & Eating Disorders
Children learn what, when, and how much to eat in their first years of life. Parents play a vital role in structuring children's early experience with food and eating. Be a positive role model when it comes to your own eating habits, and wise with what you offer your child.
About 3% of kids suffer from severe selective eating. Compared to non-picky eaters, sever picky eaters are twice as likely to have a diagnosis of depression, and seven times as likely to have been diagnosed with social anxiety.
Around 17% of kids are mild to moderate picky eaters. Such kids are likely to be more sensitive to taste and texture and might show anxiety and depression symptoms and are at risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, although not to the extent that they can be diagnosed with the disorder.
Children who refuse to eat many foods over time might have low levels of iron, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium in their bodies. Even if the child continue to grow fine and have a normal weight, the child might still be lacking crucial nutrients.
What Causes Picky Eating?
- Children are less tolerant to bitter and sour flavors.
- Picky eaters might possess different bitterness-detection genotypes.
- Children who weren’t exposed to variety of tastes and textures when they were 6-12 months old may develop picky eating habits.
- Early taste experience could play a role in taste preferences.
- When zinc is lacking in a child’s diet, his sense of smell is reduced and food tastes unappetizing. And so, putting your kid at risk of becoming a picky eater.
Malnutrition is a dangerous condition that develops when the body does not get enough nutrients to function properly. Malnutrition can be caused by a lack of food or an unbalanced diet that's missing or insufficient in one or more nutrients. It can refer to “under” or “over”-nutrition. Severe malnutrition contributes to child mortality and morbidity. Malnutrition is estimated to contribute to more than one third of all child deaths.
Causes of Malnutrition:
Malnutrition in children might be caused by long-term health conditions that cause lack of appetite, disrupt the normal process of digestion and/or cause the body to have an increased demand for energy.
- Inadequate or unbalanced diet
- Digestion or absorption problems
- Cystic fibrosis (disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system)
- Crohn’s disease (inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract)
- Childhood cancers
- Certain diseases:
- Congenital heart disease,
- Cerebral palsy (damage in brain development)
- Dysphagia (a health condition that makes swallowing difficult or painful),
Impacts of Malnutrition:
Malnutrition impacts growth in the short term, and can limit total bone growth. Stunned children (those classified as low height-forage) may never be able to regain their lost potential growth if they continue to have poor nutrition.
Malnutrition involves insufficient:
- Macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat.
- Micronutrients: vitamins and minerals.
The effect of micronutrient malnutrition depends on the specific micronutrient that is deprived.
To prevent children’s malnutrition, a complementary food should be introduced.
Exceeda® [Hyperlink] (Ronesca®’s complete and balanced children’s formula) provides all the nutrients your child needs. But keep in mind that Exceeda® and food supplements should not reduce the intake of normal food but enhance total energy, protein intake and micronutrients intake. In addition, Exceeda® can improve weight, have functional benefits and increase appetite.
Impacts of Skipping Breakfast
- Skipping breakfast reduces blood sugar leaving the brain sluggish and the body low on energy
- Skipping breakfast makes your child irritable and fidgety
- Skipping breakfast increases appetite later in the day which may lead to overeating and hence may lead to obesity
- Kids who skip breakfast have higher levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance (risk factor for developing type 2) than children who eat breakfast every day.
- Kids who skip breakfast are more likely to eat higher-fat and less-healthful foods the rest of the day.
Benefits of breakfast:
- Kids who eat breakfast do better in school
- Having breakfast positively affects your child's memory
- Children who eat breakfast are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Kids who eat rich-fiber breakfasts show fewer diabetes risk factors than those who eat low-fiber or fiber-free foods
If your child skips his or her breakfast, offer Exceeda® [Hyperlink] to provide him/her with the necessary energy and nutrients to start the day. And to protect them from skipping breakfast short-term and long-term impacts.
Loss of Appetite (Anorexia) in Children
Anorexia is the medical term of loss of appetite. It is common for a toddler’s appetite to drop a little. This is because toddlers need less calories due to slowed growth rate. This does not mean that nutrition is not important. Adequate, healthy food is needed for proper growth and development. Children that continue having poor nutrition for long, can get sick and eventually hospitalized.
- Concentration difficulties.
- Feels cold, even in warm weather
Impacts of Loss of Appetite on Children
Anorexia can lead to several serious health problems, including:
- Damage to major organs (especially the brain, heart and kidneys)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Lowered blood pressure, pulse, body temperature, and breathing rates
- Sensitivity to cold
- Thinning of bones
- Death, anorexia is fatal in about one out of every 10 cases.
What Causes Loss of Appetite in Children:
- Anemia. Anemia is one of the possible causes of the decline in appetite. Loss of appetite will cause further decline in iron levels.
- A child developing cold and fever will have significant loss of appetite.
- Toddlers show decreased appetite due to decrease in growth rate as compared to the first year of life.
- Family issues may cause loss of appetite.
- Some medications might drop your child’s appetite e.g. antibiotics
- Certain diseases