|Image: federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
The prevalence of bland, nutrient-devoid foods in the American diet – and the tendency to avoid diverse foods when eating this kind of diet – has recently been the topic of a thought-provoking online discussion. As it relates to children, this conversation was originally spurred by Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, and brought to the mainstream by renowned natural health proponent Dr. Andrew Weil.
In its most extreme form, picky eating is now increasingly considered to be an outright disorder that can plague individuals well into adulthood. While not currently listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Selective Eating Disorder is getting quite a bit of lip service from the media, health professionals and mental health experts as of late. This begs the question – just how pervasive and serious IS this problem? How does this differ from the routine picky eating behavior that is exhibited by children? When does picky eating become an indicator of an overall problem of unhealthy eating habits that could affect children as they grow up? And what can parents do – if anything – to prevent their child from becoming a lifelong selective eater?