Adults may be transferring their food phobias and bad eating habits to their offspring, according to experts at a recent meeting of American Academy of Pediatrics. They may be selecting diets that are overly strict or inappropriate for very young children, who often need the high-fat, nutritious foods that are a no-no for grown-ups, according to researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Children who are given low-fat, low-cholesterol or low-calorie diets may be at risk for low nutritional intake, and such diets may actually encourage weight gain. Low-fat diets are often sugar packed, and combined with a sedentary lifestyle, could encourage obesity.
Experts agree that fat should not be limited before the age of two. Instead of labelling foods as "bad" or "junk food" people need instead to put a positive spin on food choices and "eat to promote health," said researchers. Instead of obsessing about the candy in a child's trick or treat bag, better to serve them a healthy dinner ahead of time. This will probably limit the amount of candy they can eat in a given setting. More worrisome would be a year-round diet of sugary sweets.
The best thing parents can do is set a good example. Parents that cook impressive meals for the family but never take a nibble because they're on a diet, are probably not promoting healthy eating habits to their kids. And according to the researchers, a vegetarian diet is no guarantee a child will stay slender. "You can go to a pastry shop and eat a vegetarian diet".
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