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Feeding Development and Difficulties

How common are feeding difficulties?

  • The estimated prevalence of childhood ‘feeding difficulties’ varies across studies, depending on the definition of ‘feeding difficulties’ used and parental tolerance of the feeding behaviour.

    Prevalence rates of up to 20-50% in typically developing children have been reported. Such a high prevalence of eating behavior problems in otherwise typically developing children perhaps suggests that many reported difficulties are in fact a ‘normal’ feature of toddler life [4].

    For children with developmental delays and chronic illness, estimates of prevalence of up to 80 -90% have been reported [5-7]. The difference in feeding difficulties experienced by children with developmental delays or chronic medical conditions compared to healthy typically developing children lies in the duration and extent of the problem rather than in the type of behaviour [6, 8].