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New study about correlations between childhood picky eating and adult depression

What your child eats and refuses to eat may be more important to his or her development than you may have initially thought. Time reports that a new study was published in the journal Pediatrics by researchers from Duke University about childhood picky eaters. Nancy Zucker, director of the Duke University Center for Eating Disorders, said that she and her fellow researchers studied the connections between adults with eating-related problems who also described themselves as being picky eaters as children. 

Over the course of the study, they observed 917 children with ages ranging from 2 to 6, who were already participants in an anxiety study. During this time, the parents of the children would record their eating habits, while Zucker and her team did tests to measure how these children scored in terms of anxiety and symptoms of emotional disorders. 

Zucker and her team of researchers found that 20 percent of these children would only eat a restricted amount of foods or would not eat with their peers because of their small range of food choices, meaning they were classified as picky eaters. Furthermore, 3 percent were labeled severe selective eaters, where these children were over twice as likely to be later diagnosed with social anxiety or depression. Though, the study showed that even children that were semi moderate picky eaters were found to be more prone to show depression-like symptoms. 

Despite these findings, Zucker states that parents should not be afraid, but that the results should help doctors better recognize the difference between normal picky eating and when it is a sign of a larger anxiety or depression problem. 

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