Kids who don't want to eat - a big concern for parents

10th September 2021

"My child won't eat, he's thin as a stick and I can't make him eat any kind of food!" Thousands of parents out there may have the same concerns about the diet of their children, but in fact you shouldn't worry too much about it. Poor appetite is a personal interpretation based on what the child eats and the expectations of the family about what they should eat. Likewise, the mechanisms that regulate hunger and satiety are complex and may not yet be fully understood, and loss of appetite is a common symptom in children.

Some of the suggestions that paediatricians give to parents who are concerned about their child's eating behaviour include the following:

  • Never force your child to eat. If your child is hungry, they will eat, otherwise they won’t.
  • Teach your child about healthy eating habits and the importance of vitamins and minerals to the body.
  • Involve your child as much as possible while preparing food, this will encourage them to eat.
  • Don't associate food with punishments or rewards. For example: if you don't eat your vegetables, you are not allowed to go out and play; or if you finish eating what remains on your plate, mum or dad will buy you a toy.
  • Ask your paediatrician if your child is just slender or if they are really underweight.

However, if there is a major problem with a child's diet and parents are worried about their growth and development, they can give their child a dietary supplement rich in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

Carlos Gonzalez. "My Child Won’t Eat: How to enjoy mealtimes without worry." 1st Edition. Madrid; Pinter & Martin, 2012.

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