My son refuses to eat anything and only enjoys junk food. What to do?

Q. My 6 year old son is reluctant to eat. Please advise.

Answered by
Dr. Nagasirisha Naredla
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 13, 2014 and last reviewed on: Nov 15, 2018

Hello doctor,

This is regarding my 6 year old son. He is reluctant to eat and normally we have to change his focus from meal to feed him (by showing him television or something else). He smells things as well and does not eat if he does not like the smell of it. He likes cold drinks, chips, candies etc. We met a doctor and he said that we have to reduce or even stop giving him cold drinks, chips and any other outside food. Instead he asked us to give him home made food. But the problem is that he rarely likes to eat home made stuff. We tried many options but he rarely sits and eats. He is very active or I may say hyperactive, good in studies but we have to force him to focus on studies while teaching at home. Doctor recommended to have some tests of his blood and urine. Please advise us regarding this issue.



Welcome to

From the details you have provided, your kid seems to be a fussy eater. This is a common problem with kids of this age. Reasons for this problem are:

  1. Kids of this age are more interested in play rather than food.
  2. They are interested in junk food and hence dislike healthy and nutritious food.
  3. Other health-related issues.

Does he fall ill often? What is his weight? This is to ensure that he does not have major health concerns and is thriving well. Weight between 17 to 27 kg are approximately the lower and upper limits for this age.

If the reason is 1 or 2, you can try the following measures:

  • A 6 year old child will have a good understanding capacity. You need to tell your kid that junk food makes him unhealthy. As parents, you need to be strict in this issue, not allowing junk food, as this is habit-forming age.
  • Similar food from outside can be prepared at home and even tastier. Hence try new recipes that your child likes.
  • Tell him that he has to eat one fruit a day if he needs chips that day.
  • Give him pocket money every week, and ask him to save it in an attractive kitty bank and say that he has to buy outside food only with his pocket money.

These are few ways which can be tried to avoid junk food and outside food.

If the reason is 3 and if his tests are all fine, then he does not have major health issues and is well grown.

  • Give him some mineral/vitamin supplement, as a few minor nutritional deficiencies can decrease the appetite.
  • Stop him from viewing television or doing any other activity while eating.
  • He should enjoy whatever he is eating, that makes him get interested in food.
  • Though it may take time, you should make a start and it should be a continuous process.
  • Do not give him gifts of junk food/drinks for any work that he does.
  • Do not encourage junk food and outside food from guests who come home often.

Overactive - extremity of it is called ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). But it is difficult to diagnose without seeing the child and examining in detail.

You can consult a paediatrician online for further queries regarding his hyperactivity -->

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