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Starting a family does not encourage parents to eat healthier
Date:4/29/2012

ened beverage, or fast food intakes. The effects of children in the household did not differ significantly by race, sex, age, or body mass index at the baseline year.

Parents decreased their saturated fat intake by 1.6% compared to 2.1% lower intake by non-parents. "A variety of factors may explain this," says Dr. Laroche. "Finding foods that children like and request has been described by parents as one of the major factors influencing purchasing decisions. Given that marketing strategies to US children focus on high fat, high sugar foods, these requests are often for less healthy foods."

Parents and non-parents showed an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption over time; however, the increase was greater than in other national studies. "Perhaps the motivation children provide to eat more fruits and vegetables balances out time factors, keeping parents in line with non-parents in increasing their intake. Children may have the potential to motivate this change, but perhaps in the US parents need more financial support and education, such as provided in other countries, to increase their fruit and vegetable intake further than they have," suggests Dr. Laroche.

Dr. Laroche notes that the data was collected from 1985 to 1993, and changes since that time could alter the findings in current families. Also self-reported dietary data is subject to desirability and recall biases.

"This study makes use of some of the best data available, but further study in a new cohort is warranted to monitor parent eating behaviors," Dr. Laroche concludes. "The transition to parenthood may be a teachable moment for dieticians and health practitioners to educate adults not only on child nutrition or nutrition for pregnancy, but on changing diet patterns for the whole family as well."


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Contact: Eileen Leahy
andjrnlmedia@elsevier.com
732-238-3628
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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