September 7, 2009

Fussy eating vs. feeding disorder

A U.S. doctor says there is a difference between a child's picky eating and a feeding disorder.

Dr. Peter Girolami of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore says children often become picky eaters as their tastebuds develop and food preferences expand.

The difference between a fussy eater and a child with a feeding disorder is the impact the eating behavior has on a child's physical and mental health, Girolami says in a statement.

There are indications that can help differentiate between a picky eater, who may eat a restricted but still nourishing diet, and a child who eats only three to four types of foods and compromises healthy growth. They include:

-- An abrupt change in eating habits lasting longer than 30 days.

-- Delays in learning to self-feed or eat higher textured food.

-- Weight-loss or failure to gain appropriate weight.

-- Choking/coughing during meals.

-- Unexplained fatigue or loss of energy.

-- Disruptive behavior during mealtime.