Health & Wellness

A diagnostic tool to identify children with fussy eating habits

As many as 80 percent of parents report feeding difficulties with their children, a condition that may pose long-term health risks

A diagnostic tool to identify children with fussy eating habits Photo: GoogleA diagnostic tool to identify children with fussy eating habits Photo: Google

As many as 80 percent of parents
report some kind of feeding difficulty in their children. Feeding difficulties can affect caloric and nutrient intake, leading to possible long-term physical, psychological or cognitive development implications. Until recently, no diagnosis framework was available to help doctors assess and treat their pediatric patients with feeding problems. Feeding difficulties in young children are often overlooked and therefore under diagnosed.  In addition to the wide diversity of feeding problems, a lack of standardized definitions and terminology to describe feeding difficulties has contributed to the problem.

Experts attribute feeding difficulties to a wide range of causes, including physiological factors such as appetite and genetics.  Other contributing factors may include psychological issues, such as a struggle for autonomy, and the level of affection or adverse interaction between mother and child. "Parents are worried that their kids don't eat, that they're too picky, fussy or selective and may not be getting the proper nutrition to grow and develop," says Dr Glenn Berall, Chief of Pediatrics and Medical Program Director, North York General Hospital Toronto, Canada.

"Until now, we have not had a systematic approach to identifying and managing children with these issues. So we’ve come up with IMFeD (Identification and Management of Feeding Difficulties)  with assistance from Abbott Healthcare. It is a new, easy-to-use diagnostic tool to help doctors accurately identify and manage children with feeding difficulties. The tool addresses this often overlooked condition in young children by applying proven approaches for doctors to properly diagnose children ages 2 and older,” he adds.

IMFeD is a practical, easy tool for doctors to use when parents alert them to a potential feeding difficulty, which could be quite serious over the long-term. "We often see a communications disconnect between doctors and parents when they talk about feeding difficulties," says Dr. Berall.  Any problem that negatively affects the process by which parents provide food or supply nourishment to their young children is considered to be a feeding difficulty. 

The IMFeD tool enables pediatricians to classify common feeding difficulty conditions into categories and access established guidelines for treatment and management of these conditions.  The toolkit that includes a patient questionnaire to identify a child's feeding patterns, there is also an interactive diagnosis tool, as well as guidelines for the treatment and management of the different types of feeding difficulties.
To know more log on to

Tags: fussy eating children, eating problems in children, imfed tool, diagnostic tool

Add your comment...

Powered By Blackmonk