In a first-of-its-kind experiment, Abbott invited some self-confessed fussy eaters to lunch to get their take on the issue.

Fussy eating is a common phase for many young children; while we regularly ask parents and experts for their thoughts on why children won't eat certain foods, has anyone asked the kids what they really think? Many parents have tried every trick in the book to get their little one to eat foods they refuse, so it's time to uncover the real reasons some meals only make it as far as the plate.

A new experiment, by global healthcare company Abbott, shines a light on kids' honest opinions on food when they gather around the table:

1. What meat do you like to eat?

"I eat the chicken skin but I don't eat the chicken… it's too chickeny" Leo, six years old

2. Why don't children like Brussels sprouts?

"Because they've got disgusting vitamins in them" Joshua, six years old

3. What would you do if your child was a fussy eater?

"I would first freak out. I would say if you want a piece of chocolate cake… I would make them eat their vegetables that they didn't eat" Claudia, five years old

These findings get to the heart of children's attitudes about food and fussy eating and reveal the real reasons why some foods get gobbled up and others get left on the plate. It's all captured in an honest and funny new film, hosted by Dr. Ranj Singh, NHS Paediatric Doctor and Broadcaster.

The experiment was developed in collaboration with consumer behaviour consultant, Philip Graves, to bring out genuine reactions from eight fussy kids who were presented with a plate of foods they don't like.

Philip Graves, comments on the results "The experiment really brought to light the barriers kids can put up when parents try to give them healthy foods. For example, when Joshua's parents very reasonably tried to convince him of the nutritional benefits of eating vegetables, they inadvertently created an association in his mind that it was the vitamins he didn't like, and Claudia has already learned that "freaking out" is an appropriate reaction if she experiences fussy eating with her own children one day in the future (even though it's a response that hasn't worked with her)."

Reflecting on the film, Dr. Ranj Singh adds "Not only did the experiment prove useful, and at times surprising even to myself, the children didn't fail to amaze or amuse! What really came through was that fussy eating isn't always a 'textbook' problem, and the exact behaviour can be unique to each child. That's why advice to parents not only has to be broadly relevant, but also clear, simple and practical so that they can apply it in their own homes, no matter what the situation."

With fussy eating habits affecting more than eight in ten families across the UK, parents are looking for more realistic solutions to help them overcome their child's fussy phase.

General Manager of Abbott's nutrition business in the UK and Ireland, Gary Hall says "Research by PaediaSure Shake earlier this year revealed that almost two thirds of parents worry that their child is not getting sufficient nutrients for proper growth, and one in four regularly give up trying to get their fussy eaters to eat healthily. What's more, the majority of parents with fussy eaters described existing advice as too preachy and two fifths agreed that most parenting advice in the media is impractical."

He adds "That's why we launched and - to give parents practical solutions that work in the real world and a community to help them support each other as they work through this tricky phase."

An experiment reveals the reason behind fussy eating

An experiment reveals the reason behind fussy eating

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