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Picky eating can signal emotional struggles

child eating
Posted at 6:10 AM, Aug 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-03 06:10:00-04

CHICAGO, Ill. - Researchers say a very small percentage of kids who are picky eaters may have emotional troubles that should be checked out.

The study, by researchers at Duke University's medical school, suggests that preschool-aged children who are extremely selective about what they eat are more likely to have underlying anxiety or depression. That's about 3 percent of young children.

And moderately picky kids, about 18 percent of children, are two times more likely than other children to develop anxiety symptoms. But they're probably more likely to outgrow the problem than the severe group.

And researchers say more kids with typical pickiness, such as kids who refuse to eat their vegetables, usually have a "normal dislike", and these are the kids typically outgrow their pickiness as they mature.

The study is published Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics.