Disorders of Biological Functions

  • Stella Chess
  • Mahin Hassibi


The need for food is such a basic survival requirement that one would hardly expect to encounter numerous problems associated with feeding in childhood. From early infancy, children’s appetites can be adversely affected by physical illnesses, overexcitement, fatigue, and emotional factors, but the majority of eating disturbances in early childhood are caused by the child’s reaction to the regulatory demands of his caretakers. The process of regulating the child’s intake begins with birth. The interval between feedings, the amount of food, and later on the nature of the nutritious material allowed or forbidden are all matters of parental choice and cultural norms. Thus the battle between rigid parents and difficult infants may begin with the feeding preferences of the child and the regulatory demands of the mother. Child care manuals have reversed their earlier advocacy of rigid timing and duration for infant feedings and ideal ages for weaning. Parents are now advised to observe their infants for cues and to allow them to regulate their own intake. However, there are general expectations as to when a child should begin to imitate the eating habits of his family and community.


Anorexia Nervosa Obese Child Sexual Arousal Sexual Identity NREM Sleep 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stella Chess
    • 1
  • Mahin Hassibi
    • 2
  1. 1.New York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.New York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA

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