Tuesday, June 02, 2015
How many times have you been caught eating chips or any such junk by your children and had them demand the same the next instant? Truly so, children often mimic every move their parents make. A recent research showed that improvement in parental physical activity resulted in an increase in the child’s activity too. Similarly, parental nutritional habits were found to play a major role in shaping a child’s eating habits reported another study.
Conducted by National Jewish Health, the study measured physical activity in 83 families using pedometers after handing them a goal of taking 2000 extra steps. They found that when mothers reached or exceeded this goal, so did their children. In contrast, when mothers did not reach the goal, the children also slacked and achieved half of their goal.
The researchers said leading by parental example works best for children to achieve health goals. A similar study by American Dietetic Association Foundation (ADAF) measured the nutrition knowledge of the parents and how much of it gets trickled down to their children.
Much heart warmingly, the ADAF study found that boys tend to look up to fathers whereas girls look up to their mothers for role models. However, parents ranked poorly in prioritising nutrition. The study found that:
• Only 55% of parents’ ranked nutrition to be a deciding factor while grocery shopping.
• A whopping 51% shopped according to the taste preferences of their child.
• Only 27% considered fat content of a food to be important.
• Only 19% knew the importance of calories in a food
• Although small children eat what is provided at home, older children’s food buying decision might be based on what their role models are buying.
Much surprisingly, many parents report increased hunger in their children leading to constant snacking. When children were quizzed, they quoted boredom, anxiety, depression and not just hunger to be their cues to eat. So they key to healthy eating behaviour in children would be to simply improve your eating habits thus setting a good example to kids.
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