Kids’ Fear of New Food is Hereditary

NEW YORK: UK researchers have provided an explanation for why some children hate to try new foods — it’s in the genes.

In a large study of twins, which included both identical and fraternal twin pairs, Dr Lucy J Cooke of University College London and her colleagues found that nearly 80% of children’s tendency to avoid unfamiliar foods was inherited.

“Parents can be reassured that their child’s reluctance to try new foods is not simply the result of poor parental feeding practices, but it is partly in the genes,” Cooke and her team write.

And, they add, repeatedly offering foods to children can make the foods more familiar, and eventually even liked.
Both humans and other animals show a reluctance to try new foods, known scientifically as ‘food neophobia’. This avoidance may have had an evolutionary advantage in preventing exposure to potentially toxic foods, the researchers note in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“In the modern environment where foods are generally safe to eat, neophobia appears principally to have an adverse effect on food choices, particularly on intake of foods and vegetables,” they say. But these findings do not mean that parenting is unimportant in these behaviours.

Source: The Times Of India

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