Researchers from the University of Illinois have examined whether genetics could affect a child’s tendency to be a fussy eater. In the study, they were able to assess whether a connection between nature and nurture could be forged by assessing 153 preschool-aged children.
The DNA testing involved investigating the association of six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five candidate genes related to chemosensory perception with picky eating behavior in 2–5-year-old children. The results, together with the children’s height and weight, were then compared with surveys answered by the children’s parents about their upbringing.
While there are many factors that could cause a child to be difficult at the dinner table, the study concluded that their genetic makeup can play a role. In particular, SNPs in TAS2R38 (rs713598) and CA6 (rs2274327) were associated with picky eating behavior in children.
“Picky eating is prevalent among preschoolers and is associated with risk of both underweight and overweight”, the researchers stated. “Genes related to chemosensory perception may play a role in children’s picky behavior.”
So, parents next time you’re apologizing for your kid’s mealtime manners; cut yourselves some slack. Blame it on their DNA.
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