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Children eschew the fat if dads aren't lenient
Date:6/9/2011

COLLEGE STATION This Father's Day, dad's choice of where to eat could literally tip the scales on his children's health.

A father's use of restaurants and his perceptions of family meals carry more weight, so to speak, than mothers', according to a Texas AgriLife Research study, published recently in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

"Dads who think that dinner time is a special family time certainly do not see a fast-food restaurant as an appropriate place for that special family time, so this means that his kids are spending less time in those places. Dads who have no trouble eating food in a fast-food restaurant are going to be more likely to have kids who do so," said Dr. Alex McIntosh, AgriLife Research sociologist.

Childhood obesity study points to father's role

New research indicates that father's are more likely than mother's to have an impact on childhood obesity. A study by Texas AgriLife Research showed that lenient fathers allow their children more trips to fast-food restaurants which have been linked to obesity in children. (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips)

The study began as a 15-month look at parents' use of time and how that impacted meal choices. It aimed at the difference between fast-food and full-service restaurants because numerous studies have shown a correlation between fast-food consumption and weight gain.

Of particular interest for the research, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was parental choice of restaurants as a connection to childhood obesity, McIntosh said.

Almost as an afterthought, the researchers decided to ask children in these families also to record what they ate and whether it was at home or out. If a meal was eaten out, the name of the restaurant was not required.

"It never occurred to me that we would have data on them eating out and where they were eating out. But the kids if they said
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Contact: Kathleen Phillips
ka-phillips@tamu.edu
979-845-2872
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert  

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