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'Clean Your Plate' Orders From Parents May Backfire for Kids
Date:4/22/2013

rse group of parents and teens to see if parental food behaviors were, in fact, linked to weight status in teens.

Data for the study came from two population-based studies that included parents and teens. One study was conducted in 2010, and the other was done in 2009 to 2010. A total of more than 2,200 teens with an average age of 14.4 were included in the studies, as well as nearly 3,500 parents.

Examples of restrictive behaviors were positive responses to statements such as, "I have to be sure that my child does not eat too many sweets," or "If I did not guide or regulate my child's eating, he or she would eat too much of his or her favorite food."

Examples of pressure-to-eat behaviors were positive responses to statements such as, "My child should always eat all of the food on his or her plate," or, "If my child says, 'I am not hungry,' I try to get him or her to eat anyway."

The researchers found that restrictive food behaviors were more common in parents who had overweight or obese children. Pressure-to-eat behaviors were more common in parents of children who were normal weight.

One expert noted that what is a normal weight has been skewed in recent years.

"There's now so much obesity in the United States that when we see a child who is normal weight, inevitably, a parent will think the child is too skinny," said Dr. Michael Hobaugh, chief of the medical staff at LaRabida Children's Hospital in Chicago. "But if a pediatrician charts that child's height and weight, he or she may even be overweight. There's a wide range of normal, and for many teens it's normal to be slender and gangly. Children aren't supposed to be shaped like linebackers."

The study also found that fathers were more likely to use pressure-to-eat behaviors, and adolescent boys were more likely to be pressured to eat by their parents than were adolescent girls.

Both Loth and Hobaugh said a better way is for parents to model healthy eating b
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