By James A. Phalen, MD, FAAP

Pediatricians are likely the first point of contact for children who have pediatric feeding disorder (PFD). Feeding involves the caregiver-child relationship, multiple body systems, and multiple developmental processes. Many variables affect a child’s ability to learn to eat, grow, and be nourished. Pediatricians must understand this and what warrants concern. Pediatricians may believe that because a child is growing well, that child does not have PFD; however, good growth does not indicate appropriate feeding. Similarly, “picky eating” is often overlooked. Pediatricians must ask the right questions to detect PFD.

The Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire screening tool (Figure) accurately identifies and differentiates PFD from picky eating in children 0 to 4 years old based on caregiver responses to 6 questions.1 Red flag answers are shaded in darker gray. If 2 or more answers are shaded, pediatricians should suspect PFD.

PFD is...

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