freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Picky eaters have an eating disorder? Oh please, give me a break… | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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Is it just me, or is anyone else sick to death of the trend among health experts to medicalise every single little trait of the human personality that doesn’t conform to the way they (the experts) think we should act and behave?

For instance, I read an excellent article on the BBC website recently by a psychiatrist, Diana Chan, who asked why a growing number of people who are, well, just maybe a little moody are now increasingly being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And it’s not just the experts who are clamouring to label moodiness as bipolar, apparently more people want to be diagnosed with the disorder because they think it makes them seem more creative or intelligent (it’s the Stephen Fry effect, apparently). Years ago people would have done anything to avoid any kind of mental health problem label, but apparently now it’s quite fashionable.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today. I’ve just read a story on the Mail website about how being a ‘picky’ eater could earn you the dubious honour of having an eating disorder. Yes, really.

Experts from the American Psychological Association are really worried about people who can’t or won’t eat everything the APA obviously thinks they should eat. So they want them to be classed as having an eating disorder, the say way people with anorexia and bulimia are. Not that being a picky eater is as risky as having anorexia or bulimia, mind you, but in the long run it could make you deficient in some nutrients, and that could cause health problems.

Am I the only one who finds this intensely disturbing? I mean, if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, does that mean you have an eating disorder? Kids are notorious for going through picky eating phases – does that mean they will be labelled as ‘selective eaters’ (as the APA calls it)? What about vegetarians? And vegans? Are they all to be tarred with the eating disorder brush too? After all, it’s common knowledge that you could risk nutritional deficiencies by eating a vegetarian – or particularly a vegan – diet. But most people I know who choose not to eat meat/dairy have the best diets going, and are particularly careful to make up any potential deficiencies by taking – brace yourselves – vitamin/mineral supplements.

Okay, so maybe some people do take picky eating to the extreme. But take my friend’s daughter, for instance. When she was in her early teens, all she would eat was McDonald’s. Then she decided all she would eat was strawberries. But they were just phases and nowadays she eats normally (er, whatever that is).

So please, give us all a break and stop assigning anything that strays from the deathly boring norm with some kind of fancy-name disorder.

If you do have a real problem with picky eating, there is an American support group you can join –