Thursday, October 18, 2007

You Are What Your Parents Eat

The one discussion moms love to have is what our kids will and will not eat. We like to compare whose kid loves veggies, which kids gobble up fruits, if there are any kids in the world who don't live on carbs, etc. Then we like to psychoanalyze how we can have good eaters and picky eaters all in the same family.

Well, the debate is over. Marnie sent me this article from the NY Times that says, "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 concluded the factors that determine a picky eater are 78 percent genetic and 22 percent environmental.

Most children eat a wide variety of foods until they are around 2, when they suddenly stop. The phase can last until the child is 4 or 5. It’s an evolutionary response, researchers believe. Toddlers’ taste buds shut down at about the time they start walking, giving them more control over what they eat. 'If we just went running out of the cave as little cave babies and stuck anything in our mouths, that would have been potentially very dangerous,' Dr. Cooke said.

The article continues that:
Each child has a unique set of likes and dislikes that...are genetically determined. The only way children discover what they are is by putting food in their mouths and taking it out over and over again," said Ellyn Satter, a child nutrition expert whose books, including “Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense” (Bull Publishing, 2000), have developed a cult following among parents of picky eaters.

So what do you think? Is it possible for kids to inherit a "picky eater gene" from a parent? Or, do you think it is more a matter of environment that dictates those picky phases?

1 comment:

Classic MaMa said...

Not so sure about that. Scarlett eats a host of icky things that I won't eat. I'm actually way more picky than any two-year-old.