New film reveals real reasons why some kids won't eat what's on their plate



MAIDENHEAD, UK, 7 December 2015 —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'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 UK1, parents are looking for more realistic solutions to help them overcome their child's fussy phase2.

General Manager of Abbott's nutrition business in the UK and Ireland, Gary Hall says: "Research2 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."


1. Data on file. Abbott Laboratories Ltd., 2013 (Parent survey: fussy eaters).
2. Data on file. Abbott Laboratories Ltd., 2015 (Parent survey: fussy eaters).

Notes to Editors:

For more information and expert interviews please get in contact.

About PaediaSure Shake

PaediaSure Shake is a complete and balanced shake for children who are fussy eaters. It contains a balance of 26 vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, vitamin D and calcium for normal bone development, and iron which contributes to normal cognitive development – all essential nutrients that every child needs to grow and develop.

PaediaSure Shake is a specially formulated food supplement for children aged 1-10 years. It can be consumed as a regular part of a child’s daily diet during their fussy eating phase, while parents work to establish healthy eating habits.

About Abbott

At Abbott, we’re committed to helping you live your best possible life through the power of health. For more than 125 years, we’ve brought new products and technologies to the world - in nutrition, diagnostics, medical devices and branded generic pharmaceuticals - that create more possibilities for more people at all stages of life. Today, 73,000 of us are working to help people live not just longer, but better, in the more than 150 countries we serve.

We’ve been doing this in the UK since 1937, and there are now some 1,400 of us with operations in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Kent and Cheshire.

Connect with us at, on Facebook at and connect with us on Twitter at @AbbottNews.


  • share Share
  • print Print
  • download Download

You are about to exit for another Abbott country or region specific website

Please be aware that the website you have requested is intended for the residents of a particular country or region, as noted on that site. As a result, the site may contain information on pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other products or uses of those products that are not approved in other countries or regions.

The website you have requested also may not be optimized for your specific screen size.

Do you wish to continue and exit this website?


You are about to exit the Abbott family of websites for a 3rd party website

Links which take you out of Abbott worldwide websites are not under the control of Abbott, and Abbott is not responsible for the contents of any such site or any further links from such site. Abbott is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Abbott.

The website that you have requested also may not be optimized for your screen size.

Do you wish to continue and exit this website?