“We know that genes are not our destiny,” Smith added. “Parents can positively influence their child’s eating behaviours.”
Dr Faye Powell, a developmental psychologist at the University of Bedfordshire specialising in children’s eating behaviour, said although genetics play a part, food fussiness is also down to individual differences between children.
“Genetics play a small part and could make you more predisposed, but it’s an individual’s differences and their experiences of food that will trigger picky eating,” she told The Huffington Post UK.
“Children’s taste preferences start in the utero, so even when a child is in the embryonic phrase, the more variety a mother has during pregnancy, the more they are likely to accept those foods when they’re born.
The same is with breast milk, flavours such as garlic and vanilla can be tasted through that.”
Powell said children who have ‘heightened sensory sensitivity’ are much more likely to be fussy eaters.
She added: “These children are sensitive to different sensory aversions and textures – it can be rather overwhelming.
“Kids with tactile defensiveness, where they have high oral sensitivity, will be fearful of and unaccepting of foods that are different.”
Dr Jacqueline Blissett, a reader in childhood eating behaviour at the University of Birmingham told HuffPost UK the most important strategy for trying to get children to try new foods is through “modelling” also known as the example that you set to your children at dinner time.
“Watching other people and learning through modelling other people’s behaviour is so important,” she said.
“In all of our studies, we’ve shown if your child is fussy, the most effective way of getting them to try something new is if you’re eating the same thing and modelling it enthusiastically.
“If you’re expecting them to eat broccoli but you’re not eating it, it will be a lot harder to follow through.”