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Parents’ Healthy Diet Has Little Influence. Do you agree?

Parents may try to set an example by eating a healthy diet themselves, but a new study has found that their children are not paying attention.

Researchers studied a nationally representative sample of adults ages 20 to 65 and their children 2 to 18, a total of 2,291 parents and 2,692 children, tracking their eating habits with questionnaires. They found little resemblance between the consumption of total energy, carbohydrates, saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats by children and their parents, although children’s diets were slightly more likely to resemble their mothers’ than their fathers’. The study was published online in Social Science and Medicine.

Level of parental education and socioeconomic status made little difference. Unsurprisingly, the older children were, the more likely they were to differ from their parents. cont...


Asked by Anonymous at 1:02 PM on Jul. 1, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • Early eating habits are influenced by parents, environment and cultural background. As children get older, they are more influenced by their friends and society. As children get older they are able to make more decisions for themselves and tend to try new foods when with their friends, at school or at a friends house. Children learn habits from parents, but can and do overcome them as they get older.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 3:00 PM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • ....cont

    As children get older, the authors suggest, peers become a much stronger influence on food consumption.

    “This suggests that parents don’t play as large a role as people have thought in their children’s diet,” said a co-author of the study, Dr. Youfa Wang, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Most parents are not doing as good a job as they should.”

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:02 PM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • Teens and people in their twenties will have vastly eating patterns from their parents because they are older and will be trying out different eating habits to see what they like. If parents feed their smaller children what they eat themselves, they are more likely to revert to something close to those patterns after they have established their likes and dislikes.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:08 PM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • I disagree sort of. I believe that it's not just the parents eating healthy, but they need to only buy healthy foods. If they allow "junk" food in the home, then of course the children are going to flock to it. But if healthy foods are only allowed in the home and healthy habits are set and enforced, then that will have a bigger influence then any peer pressure.

    Answer by TheDiva320 at 1:12 PM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • Well, if your kids are in public school, you have to deal with the crap they serve there. Some schools serve healthy foods, some have McDonald's in the cafeteria and candy and coke machines everywhere.

    My kids eat EXACTLY what I eat, since they eat 3 meals a day with me.

    Answer by mancosmomma at 1:27 PM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • I eat how my mom raised us to eat. We eat a balanced and nutritional diet. We were home schooled and did not watch TV which took away the bad influences during our formative years. My 9 sisters and brothers all eat healthy and balanced diets and exercise and no one in my family is obese. I have a thyroid condition and still am not overweight. Obesity is a huge issue in our country and one of the reasons health care is so high. We all pay for it and we all owe it to our children to only give them the best when it comes to food.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:53 PM on Jul. 1, 2009