Picky Eaters? They Get It From You


New York Times 10 October 2007
..For parents who worry that their children will never eat anything but chocolate milk, Gummi vitamins and the occasional grape, a new study offers some relief. Researchers examined the eating habits of 5,390 pairs of twins between 8 and 11 years old and found children’s aversions to trying new foods are mostly inherited. The message to parents: It’s not your cooking, it’s your genes.The study, led by Dr. Lucy Cooke of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August. Dr. Cooke and others in the field believe it is the first to use a standard scale to investigate the contribution of genetics and environment to childhood neophobia. According to the report, 78 percent is genetic and the other 22 percent environmental. “People have really dismissed this as an idea because they have been looking at the social associations between parents and their children,” Dr. Cooke said. “I came from a position of not wanting to blame parents.”….Even though food neophobia appears to be genetic, doctors say parents of picky eaters can’t just surrender and boil another pot of pasta. “We have to understand that biology is not destiny,” said Patricia Pliner, a social psychology professor at the University of Toronto. “This doesn’t necessarily mean there is nothing we can do about the environment.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/10/dining/10pick.html?_r=1&oref=slogin