Parents' example vital in kid's eating habits

March 10, 2004 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Parents' example vital in kid's eating habits

The parents of children who aren't eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day may not be setting them a good example, according to new research published last week. Parental consumption was the strongest predictor of children's consumption, the study revealed.

The investigators sent questionnaires to parents of children in 22 nursery schools in Northern England to get an idea of what influences the eating habits of two to six-year olds, said more than a third weren't eating enough healthy foods.

What the parents consumed was the biggest influence on children's diets but eating together as a family, breast feeding and introducing a variety of fruits and vegetables early were also important factors. The study, which was reported in the journal Public Health Nutrition, also revealed that babies who had been breast-fed ate fruits and vegetables more often than bottle-fed babies.

Whereas formula milk is a uniform taste, breast milk takes on the flavour of the food the mother eats so children get exposed from a very early age to a variety of tastes and this seems to make them more open to different tastes later on.

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