The 'picky eater': The toddler or preschooler who does not eat

Alexander K.C. Leung, Valérie Marchand, Reginald S. Sauve, Dana L. Boctor, Jeffrey N. Critch, Manjula Gowrishankar, Daniel Roth, Sharon L. Unger, Robin C. Williams, Jatinder Bhatia, Genevieve Courant, A. George F. Davidson, Tanis Fenton, Jennifer McCrea, Jae Hong Kim, Lynne Underhill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The majority of children between one and five years of age who are brought in by their parents for refusing to eat are healthy and have an appetite that is appropriate for their age and growth rate. Unrealistic parental expectations may result in unnecessary concern, and inappropriate threats or punishments may aggravate a child's refusal to eat. A detailed history and general physical examination are necessary to rule out acute and chronic illnesses. A food diary and assessment of parental expectations about eating behaviour should be completed. Where the child's 'refusal' to eat is found to be related to unrealistic expectations, parents should be reassured and counselled about the normal growth and development of children at this age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-457
Number of pages3
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health (Canada)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Picky eating
  • Poor eating
  • Refusal to eat
  • Toddler
  • Unrealistic parental expectations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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