Handling Picky Eaters

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Many families have picky eaters, but a small number of them are extremely picky eaters.

Doctors say it’s not just about eating something new – it has real health implications.

For Cara and Louis Amo, getting their six-year-old son Trey to eat a snack seemed more like a game of 20 questions.

“That’s’ when we began to hear a lot of kids go through this and then they grow out of it. Toddlers are busy. They are not going to starve themselves. That was the advice we were getting,” said Louis Amo.

For some parents of picky eaters, the ‘just wait’ advice is good advice

But Trey’s case was different.

This type of very limited eating put Trey in a group known as ‘severely selective eaters.’

Only about three percent of kids are this selective when it comes to food.

“This is not a control battle. These kids gag when they taste new food. They have a genuine disgust reaction to some of the smells of things,” said Dr. Nancy L. Sucker, eating disorders specialist at Duke University.

A recent study by Duke University shows a link between selective eaters and mental health: these kids are twice as likely as other children to develop emotional problems like depression or anxiety over time. 

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