For generations, parents have been encouraging their children to eat their vegetables, and children have been resisting these entreaties.

In most cases, children who refuse to eat their veggies or any other foods eventually become less picky eaters as they grow up. But some people retain strict personal guidelines what they will (and, more importantly, will not) eat. Now, mental health experts are attempting to determine if extremely picky eaters aren’t just overly choosy, but are actually suffering from an eating disorder.

According to a Jan. 25 article by Sharon Kirkey of Postmedia News, the debate over whether or not picky eating rises to the level of an eating disorder has caught the attention of the team who is creating the latest revision of the world’s preeminent mental health publication:

“Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder,” or ARFID, is being recommended as a new eating disorder for the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, an influential book used daily by doctors worldwide.

ARFID is being defined as an “eating or feeding disturbance” that includes avoiding foods of a particular taste, texture or colour.

The diagnosis is designed to include children – as well as adults – with such peculiar and profound food preferences that they cause significant weight loss or serious nutritional deficiencies.

DSM-V is slated to be published in May 2013.

[Photo at top of post by Andy Wright via Flickr. Licensed for use through Creative Commons.]