This is different from children refusing to eat a particular food one day, but eating it the next. Food aversions are common and believed to occur along a spectrum of severity, with some children refusing only a few specific foods and others refusing whole food groups vegetables, fruits, meats. Reactions to the aversive foods can also range from grimacing to gagging, vomiting, or spitting out the food. Also, oftentimes parents report that these children are reluctant to try new foods. After experiencing the initial aversive reaction, children with Sensory Food Aversions usually refuse to continue eating that particular food and become very distressed if forced to do so. Some children are so sensitive that they will refuse to eat any foods that have touched other foods on their plates, while others eat only foods of specific brand names or restaurants e.

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Abstract The number of adolescents and adults with eating disorders has been increasing, and it has been reported that up to one third of elementary school children are preoccupied with dieting and weight. Although longitudinal research suggests that feeding problems and eating disorders often start early and are stable over time, little is known about how the regulation of eating develops in infants and young children.

It is proposed that the regulation of eating in infancy develops in the context of parent-infant interactions. Feeding disorders develop when specific infant and parent vulnerabilities interact and difficulties arise during feeding.

The specific aims of this project are twofold: 1 To further validate this transactional model for the regulation of eating in infants and young children; 2 To test the effectiveness of a short-term intervention based on this transactional model for a specific feeding disorder-Infantile Anorexia. It is the most severe form of a spectrum of feeding problems in infants and young children.

A partial dismantling design has been chosen to test the transactional model and the efficacy of a brief intervention, based on this model, to treat infantile anorexia. There will be two treatment groups with 55 infants in each group. The infants will be randomly assigned to one of two interventions. This intervention will prepare the parents for the second part of the intervention, the Parent Training, which gives the parents specific suggestions on feeding routines and behavior management of the infant in order to facilitate internal regulation of eating.

This Control Condition was chosen to be as non-specific and as different as possible from the Psycho-Educational Treatment. In addition, these data will clarify how to facilitate internal regulation of eating in infants and young children in general. The principles of internal regulation of eating can be applied to the prevention and treatment of other eating disorders of children and adolescents as well.


Sensory Food Aversions



Irene Chatoor, M.D.


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