Sunday 21 July 2019

Dear David Coleman: My two-year-old son is addicted to food and gets into a rage if we don't let him eat more

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David Coleman

David Coleman

Q My two-year-old son is addicted to food. He is able to eat adult portions and continue eating afterwards. He cries at night for more milk. When he does not get more food or we do not let him eat any more, he gets into a rage and hits the crib or throws himself on the floor. I really do not know where to start or what to do for him. Please can you help me?

David Coleman replies: Appetite is a complex thing. It is partly determined by genetics and partly regulated by behavioural and environmental factors.

For example, you mention that your son is able to eat adult portions of food, which suggests that at some point you have offered him adult portions of food. That is an example of an environmental factor that might affect his eating.

At his age, given his apparent compulsion to eat, I think you have no choice but to try to regulate his food intake on his behalf, since overeating will probably have serious long-term negative effects for him.

Do get his weight checked by your GP or public health nurse, so that you know if it is at a healthy level or not. I think you might benefit from talking to a dietician to get advice for yourselves about what is a healthy diet for your son.

I think you may have to accept, that as you stop him from eating, he will be upset. It is important that you don't give in to his rage.

Rather you can try to be warm and understanding, but remain firm in your resolve that when he has had enough, it is time to stop.

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