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 April 23, 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 April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
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