Picky Eaters: the Plant or the Person?

Picky Eaters: the Plant or the Person?

This research published by Nancy Zucker at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke Medical School in conjunction with a team of researchers through Duke University Press examines the mental stability of picky eaters in a careful manner. Evaluation of  current and prospective mental stability are both provided and family stability is also examined. This provides an insight into one of the most pervasive of human relations with botanical life: nutrition. Causality of the disorder is  examined or determined as severity of the disorder correlates appropriately with severity of associated mental illnesses and leaves logical deduction of coincidence slim; the success of early and aggressive intervention is highlighted, and the research suggests appropriate action while acknowledging the limitations provided by such a study.
Selective eating disorder has been chosen for the research because of its overwhelming prevalence, and with the data provided in the study, the overwhelming consequences of inaction. It is worth noting that 14-20% of young children suffer from the disorder and co-occurring psychological illness can be seen demonstrated in a medically appropriate manner. The crisis is apparent: nearly 2/3 of these parents who have afflicted children have reported that the disorder was not addressed appropriately by medical professionals. While the research is limited, it is also longitudinal and fills a scientific gap in investigation into the nature of this disorder, a gap which the authors attribute the inaction of medical professionals to.
While the research does not directly address the plant-based eating choices of the children themselves, a systematic evaluation of the families is also done: children with selective eating disorder were significantly more likely to have mothers with mental health histories and those with moderate selective eating disorder (about 3% of the sample) were significantly more likely to have mothers with substance abuse histories. This plays into the psychoactive role of many plant-based compounds which can create physical dependence and demonstrates their effects on the families and individuals around those who make these illegal choices. The research is critical to that of plant biology because both taste and texture of foods are identified as factors in the development of the disorder, and the crisis has been created in which some children may eat enough to sufficiently fit criteria of weight gain and avoid more traditional diagnosis while still not obtaining enough nutrients from plant or animal-based food and drink to maintain psychological or physical health. Finally, it should also be noted that children with severe selective eating disorder have more than twice the rate of depression or social anxiety as those without though those with moderate selective eating disorder, though these diagnoses were substituted with an association with, not necessarily causal, symptoms of ADHD and separation anxiety not seen in severe cases.
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