Neophobia is an unconscious and terrible fear of everything new, a seemingly illogical and unjustified fear that has an adaptive and protective ancestral basis. Its most common form of manifestation is in food when young children refuse to eat any type of food that they have not tried or seen before.
The food neophobia refers to the persistent and repeated refusal to eat and / or avoid trying new foods, especially all those that visually look bad for children, being one of the most frequent causes of childhood loss of appetite.
This behavior generally occurs from weaning, at which time new flavors, textures and colors are incorporated into the baby's diet. Giving a very important increase between 2 and 5 years.
As in any stage of development, some children are extremely rigid and se are reluctant to try any food that doesn't appeal to them visually. Fortunately, neophobia tends to decrease when the child approaches 6 years of age. For some, this fear can last into adulthood, especially for those children who have not been offered adequate exposure to new foods.
According to recent studies, the causes of neophobia would be basically two: genetic and environmental. In the first case, it has been seen that food neophobia in children is highly hereditary. However, it is also considered that a quarter of the causes would be attributable to environmental factors.
For some researchers, food neophobia would be a 'survival mechanism' since neophobia would prevent children from trying poisonous foods. Be that as it may, a child refuses to eat has nutritional and emotional consequences, not only in the child but also in the family environment.
Evidently, food neophobia has dietary consequences for the child. Normally the main food groups that children reject the most because of this fear are vegetables and fruits. However, there is no need to worry excessively. There are other foods that can provide the child with all the vitamins that they do not ingest from vegetables or fruits due to this type of aversion.
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