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Picky eating behavior is a common complaint among parents. Children labeled as “picky eaters” usually dem-onstrate behaviors of highly selective intake, by avoiding certain foods or eating a limited menu. The possibility for short- or long-term consequences as a result of picky eating behavior exists.
A cross-sectional survey study was performed on 1101 children from 3 to 6 years in seven schools of Madrid, Spain. Picky eaters (PE) were defined as children whose average consumption was <65% of the recommended daily intake for 4 of 6 food groups. This study was designed to analyze the nutrient intakes of children and determine possible effects of eat-ing behaviors on attention. Using the study definition, 18.4% of the sample was classified as PE. No differences were ob-served between the two groups for the attention measurement when analyzed as a whole. However, as the age of the chil-dren increased from 49 months on, the percentage of PE children with a negative score increased until 50% in the oldest group. The PE group had lower energy and macronutrient levels, but managed to meet dietary recommendations for most micronutrients. Additionally, the PE children could be characterized by specific eating behaviors compared with the healthy eater group of children.