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Home Industry News Toddlers’ fussiness over food ‘may have a genetic basis’

Toddlers’ fussiness over food ‘may have a genetic basis’

14th October 2016

Toddlers' fussy eating habits may have more to do with their genes than their upbringing, according to new research.

The University College London study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, analysed data from the Gemini study, which focused on early-life eating behaviours of 1,921 families with 16-month-old twins.

It was shown that children's tendency to refuse to try new foods or to be very selective about what foods they eat have a substantial genetic basis, rather than purely being a reflection of parenting styles.

However, the researchers were keen to note that their findings do not imply that fussy eating behaviours cannot be changed, with a related piece of research showing that mothers of twins whose levels of food fussiness vary greatly often respond by feeding their children differently.

Dr Clare Llewellyn of UCL's Health Behaviour Research Centre said: "It would be useful for future research to identify the important environmental shapers of food fussiness and neophobia in young children so that they might be targeted to reduce these behaviours."

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