Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes may be reason some kids are picky about food

Date:
March 21, 2013
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
Parents may plead, cajole or entice their children to try new foods, but some kids just won't budge. Now, new research reveals that the reason these kids fear new foods has less to do with what's on their plate and more to do with their genes.

Parents may plead, cajole or entice their children to try new foods, but some kids just won't budge. Now, new research reveals that the reason these kids fear new foods has less to do with what's on their plate and more to do with their genes.
Credit: Anyka / Fotolia

Parents may plead, cajole or entice their children to try new foods, but some kids just won't budge. Now, new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveals that the reason these kids fear new foods has less to do with what's on their plate and more to do with their genes.

The work, led by Myles Faith, an associate professor of nutrition at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, adds to the growing body of knowledge that genes play a significant role in children's eating behavior, including the tendency to avoid new foods.

"In some respects, food neophobia, or the aversion to trying new foods, is similar to child temperament or personality," said Faith, whose work appears today in the journal Obesity. "Some children are more genetically susceptible than others to avoid new foods. However, that doesn't mean that they can't change their behaviors and become a little less picky."

The study looked at 66 pairs of twins between ages 4 and 7 years old, and found that genes explain 72 percent of the variation among children in the tendency to avoid new foods, while the rest was influenced by environment. Previous research has shown a similar genetic influence for food neophobia in 8-to-11-year-olds (78 percent) and adults (69 percent), suggesting that the impact of genes on food neophobia is constant across the developmental spectrum.

Faith and his team also examined the relationship between food neophobia and body fat measures in both parent and child. Unexpectedly, the researchers found that if the parent was heavier, the child was heavier only if he or she avoided trying new foods.

"It's unexpected, but the finding certainly invites interesting questions about how food neophobia and temperament potentially shape longer-term eating and influence body weight," said Faith.

On the environmental side, the findings suggest that parents should consider each child's idiosyncrasies, even for siblings in the same household, when thinking about how to increase a child's acceptance of new foods. For example, parents can serve as role models and provide repeated exposure to new foods at home, or show their child how much they enjoy the food being avoided. They might also provide a choice of several new items from which a child could select.

"Each child may respond differently to each approach, and research needs to examine new interventions that take into account children's individuality," said Faith. "But what we do know through this and other emerging science is that this individuality includes genetic uniqueness."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Myles S. Faith, Moonseong Heo, Kathleen L. Keller, Angelo Pietrobelli. Child food neophobiais heritable, associated with less compliant eating, and moderates familial resemblance for BMI. Obesity, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/oby.20369

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Genes may be reason some kids are picky about food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321082934.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2013, March 21). Genes may be reason some kids are picky about food. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321082934.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Genes may be reason some kids are picky about food." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321082934.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins