Evidence-based Strategies to Address Persistent Feeding Difficulties
Persistent feeding difficulties are all too common in children. These are conditions in which a child avoids eating or limits what or how much he or she will eat. This can lead to problems including weight loss, nutritional deficiency, or problems with daily functioning. These difficulties may limit a child’s ability to participate in normal social activities such as eating with others, and disrupt family functioning. Feeding difficulties can be extremely stressful for the entire family.
Key Indicators of Feeding Difficulties
Limited range of textures
Limited range of foods
Prolonged mealtime duration
Problematic mealtime behaviour
Family stress related to a child's eating patterns
Evidence supports the use of behavioural approaches in the treatment of feeding disorders. Behavioral treatment strategies may include a modifications to the mealtime schedule and structure, behaviour management, and caregiver training. Behavior management techniques are designed to strengthen adaptive behaviours and weaken maladaptive behaviours (Silverman A. 2015. Behavioral Management of Feeding Disorders of Childhood. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, p. 33-42).