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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Selective eating (also referred to as picky or fussy eating) has been described as a normative developmental phase that a significant minority experience and, potentially, “grow out of” without formal intervention. This chapter reviews the literature on selective eating from the stance that this eating pattern is a clinical condition rather than a normative developmental phase. Construing selective eating as a clinical condition, it probes questions of definition, chronicity, and impairment that would warrant intervention. It explores the phenomenology of selective eating, suggesting that the experience of disgust has been relatively neglected in understanding the experience of selective eaters and that the inclusion of this feature may offer some novel hypotheses for both necessary treatment elements and novel conceptualizations about what it means to “outgrow” selective eating. Finally, assuming the hypotheses proposed are accepted, it suggests some necessary treatment elements to expand food variety in individuals with selective eating.

Keywords: selective eating, picky eating, food avoidance, disgust, sensory sensitivity

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