The results showed that by the age of three, around 30 percent of the children were classified as fussy eaters.

For mothers, the anxiety was evident both during pregnancy and during preschool days of the child, whereas for fathers the depression was felt only during the pre-school period.

Further, clinically high maternal anxiety scores were more associated with fussy eating.

As for depression, the mothers' prenatal symptoms predicted a four-year-old's fussy eating behaviour, irrespective of whether she had the symptoms when the child was three. The results were similar for the fathers.

Fussy eating behaviour, which is characterised by the consistent rejection of particular foods, is common in childhood, and a frequent source of concern for parents, the researchers explained, in the study published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The analysis was based on 4,746 mother and child pairs and 4,144 dads, whose children had all been born between 2002 and 2006.

 

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