Picky Eaters

Kuchh khata nahi hai / Bahut Kamzor hai ! (Doesn’t eat anything / Is very weak) 

In my clinic, I very often hear the complain – ‘Kuchh khata nahi hai !”. I plot the child on the WHO growth chart. They are doing well for their age. I feel like saying, please don’t feed him excessively. He’s doing absolutely fine. He’ll eat what he wants to eat. Parents may not like me anymore. But, it’s my job to tell them if they are putting their child at risk of obesity leading to lot of problems as I said in my other posts ie Diabetes, Heart diseases etc.

We Indians (in fact , all South Asians and Chinese alike, I think), have an obsession in feeding our children. I have never come across a single English parent in my 15 years in UK, who has said, that our child does not eat. They actually say, ‘He eats for England !”. No Indian mum will ever say that, though their child may be eating for India, in case ‘Nazar lag jaye’! Running after children to feed them is a common sight. (It’s a good exercise for mums and some dads as well, not enough though 😉

Latest is of-course, feeding while showing them iPad / iPhone. Unbelievable !! I have a theory (not research based). I think by feeding, and invariably overfeeding children, they become aversive to food (don’t like the idea of eating). It’s not an enjoyable activity any more. When they are little (6 months – 1 year), their stomachs are tiny. You can’t expect them to eat too much. I have seen my friends and family, holding their children’s mouth and shoving the food in. I think it’s abuse, but they think it’s motherly ‘love’. Since then, they associate the first sight of food as a very painful and uncomfortable experience. This, I have confirmed with my Speech & Language Therapists (SALT).

Author: ramnikmathur

Private Paediatrician and specialist in allergies

5 thoughts on “Picky Eaters”

  1. Very important topic addressed.
    Children have a sense of hunger and satiety from birth but in the society of abundance we tend to suppress that. If we keep them feeding snacks every 1-2 hrs (even if it’s healthy snacks) then they’re not hungry enough to finish the full meal during mealtime. If their tiny tummies are full all day or if the brain has more than needed sugar at all times then kids are no longer able to appreciate the hunger or satiety. They grow up finding it difficult to controll their eating habits and become at risk of obesity and other related diseases.

    Liked by 1 person

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