It’s NOT just children who are fussy eaters! Nearly half of students are still picky at university, study finds
- Being a fussy eater is usually a term associated with children who don’t like veg
- But it seems that it’s not just a phase, according to a new study of 500 students
- Results of the study showed 190 undergraduates still identified as a fussy eater
Being a fussy eater is usually a term associated with young children who don’t like to eat their vegetables.
But it seems it’s not just a phase – as nearly half of young adults are still picky by the time they go to university, according to a new study.
Researchers analysed 488 undergraduate students in the US and found 190 still identified as a fussy eater.
Most of them reported consuming a diet of fewer than 10 foods, and ate ‘significantly’ less fibre and vegetables compared to their peers.
Being a fussy eater is usually a term associated with young children who don’t like to eat their vegetables. But it seems it’s not just a phase – as nearly half of young adults are still picky by the time they go to university, according to a new study
They also reported situational distress – for example not being able to find acceptable food when eating with others – and excessive meal planning.
Lead researcher Dr Lauren Dial, from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said: ‘Picky eating is typically defined as the rejection of both familiar and new foods.
‘It is a common occurrence during childhood, however there are cases in which picky eating can persist in adolescence and adulthood.’
The findings, which were published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, also revealed that some picky eaters opted not to eat at all on occasion, and had to decide who they chose to eat with.
Dr Dial added: ‘Overall, this study sheds some more light on the consequences of picky eating in young adults and might help future research identify how picky eating is related to other eating behaviours.’
She added that some people identify themselves as a picky eater in the same way that others would class themselves as a healthy eater or a vegetarian.
And while some viewed going out to restaurants as a challenge, others enjoyed it as it ‘limited the amount of options of what to eat’.
Reasons for being a picky eater vary widely, however some participants said it made weight loss easier for them.
‘The definition of picky eating currently is pretty broad, so it doesn’t really capture the reasons why people might be eating a limited diet,’ Dr Dial said.
‘It could be possible that someone is eating a limited diet to address a specific health concern.
‘Interestingly, we did have participants who identified as picky eaters tell us about times that picky eating was a benefit to them – they were able to achieve weight loss and fitness goals by eating a limited range of foods.’
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide