Fussy eating may be an “eating disorder” say researchers

Picky and fussy eaters are not just being difficult to please say U.S. researchers. They may be suffering from an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. Soon the disorder is to have an official name and the American Psychiatric Association plans to call them “selective eaters”.

A final decision will be made for the next edition of the respected Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The psychologists say that unlike bulimia and anorexia, selective eating may not be associated with serious health risks but the risk of nutritional deficiencies that lead to heart and bone problems remain.

Earlier children were the only ones labelled picky. However new research has shown that there is a substantial population of adults who come under this banner. Some blame textures and smell for this behaviour that is seen as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder by psychologists.

Researchers at Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh have now started the first national public registry of picky eating, which will allow people to log in and report on their unusual eating preferences and habits. This exercise will give an insight into the disorder they feel. One trend that they have noted in these early stages is that most of these eaters shun bland foods like plain pasta or cheese pizza but like junk foods like chips and chicken fingers!

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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  1. Kim Mills Kim Mills United States says:

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association, not the American Psychological Association. Any efforts to reclassify a disorder would be handled by the psychiatrists, not the psychologists.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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