‘Is Picky Eating A Phase Or Lifelong Condition? It’s hard to exactly predict who will remain a fussy or picky eater and who can “outgrow it.” In my professional and personal view, it further depends as to why they are picky in the first place. If you don’t have that basic understanding, you are already starting from behind the eight ball. If you’re not sure if your child is picky enough to warrant help, check out our 2 minute quiz here.
We can look to studies of adults who are picky eaters to get a basic idea. For example, when surveyed, picky eating adults, 75% state that they have had the problem since early childhood. Dr. Nancy Zucker, a psychologist out of Duke University, linked picky eating in some preschoolers with emotional problems later in life. She states, “Food memories are very powerful memories,” adding that social anxiety associated with picky eating seems to increase with age.
Further, a lot of respondents cited that food causes them stress and anxiety as an adult. Some made comments that they were concerned about being poor role models for their children, or they panic about attending business dinners, dating, and more.
As we know, the process isn’t a quick fix, in fact, Dr. Zucker compared the process to physical rehabilitation for an injury, requiring much work and practice. We would agree with her as well. It really takes understanding why in the first place and remediating the many layers of feeding (gut, sensory, oral motor skill, and the fear that develops on top of that).
In a survey of over 2, 600 adults who identified themselves as a picky eater, 75% said that this began in early childhood. Further, these adults said “People aren’t choosing to dislike food. There’s a lot of shame involved. There’s not a lot of empathy for picky eaters.” You can find more information from the article here: New York Times Article: When The Picky Eater Is A Grown Up.
Remember it’s never too early to start therapy and it’s never too late either!
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If you need more structured and 1:1 help, you should consider working with us more in depth in our Picky Plate Course