Mothers who are highly concerned that their child is or will become overweight and consequently restricts access to certain foods may be more likely to have overweight children, new study results suggest. Those who force their kids to finish everything on their plate, in contrast, are less likely to have overweight children.
Researchers from the University of Southern California in Alhambra studied 130 African American and white adolescents and questioned their mothers about their child-feeding attitudes and practices, and their perceptions about their child's weight. Mothers who reported high levels of concern about their child's weight and great attempts to restrict their child's access to certain foods were more likely to have overweight children than their peers who reported less concern.
If parents try to control what their child eats using denial, reward, pressure and punishment, the kids will actually want the forbidden foods even more and really start to dislike the foods you are trying to get them to eat.
Higher levels of maternal pressure to eat, however, were associated with lower levels of overweight among the children. It is possible that mothers pressure their thinner children to eat, whereas they are concerned about their heavier children.
According to experts, the key is to allow children to respond to (their) well-developed internal cues of hunger and satiety rather than to parental pressure to consume a specific amount of food or a specific food. Parents can help by never using food as a reward or a punishment and by making healthy foods available at every meal...without using force or coercion to get their children to eat them.
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