Your Kid Isn’t A Picky Jerk – You Can Blame It On Genetics

shutterstock_118908841A new study suggest your kid isn’t just a picky eater – he’s genetically predisposed to hate your cooking. Just kidding. He’s not genetically predisposed to hate your cooking, but he may be genetically predisposed to avoid trying new things. Genetics play a role in how picky a child is when it comes to eating.

The researchers looked at 66 pairs of twins, aged 4 to 7, and found that genes were responsible for 72 percent of the variation kids’ tendency to avoid new foods. The rest of the variation was influenced by household and family factors.

Previous studies found that genes explained 78 of the variation [sic] in aversion to trying new foods in children aged 8 to 11 and 69 percent of the variation in adults. This suggests that the effect of genes remains relatively constant across all ages.

I’m Greek and Italian and was raised to eat whatever was put in front of me. We weren’t really allowed to say “Hey mom – I don’t like this Moussaka. Can I have bologna instead?”  I always assumed that the fact that I’m not a picky eater was a cultural thing. I’ve always been used to different flavors and spices and try to expose my son to as much as I can. The kid likes capers. And olives. And mushrooms. I always thought it was because I was so great as exposing him to new flavors. Apparently – not so much.

Another interesting finding in the study was that in “families with heavier parents, children were overweight only if they avoided trying new foods.” This obviously proves that parents should be providing kids with opportunities to try new things. I know all children are different – but with my toddler, one week he may hate something and the next week he’ll love it.

“To increase children’s acceptance of new foods, the researchers said that parents can serve as role models and provide repeated opportunities for their children to try new foods. This might include offering several new foods and letting children decide which ones they want to try.”

(photo: Angela Waye/


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