Parental influence on child eating is weak

June 1, 2009 at 7:15 PM
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BALTIMORE, June 1 (UPI) -- The conventional wisdom that parents' dietary choices help children establish their eating behaviors may be incorrect, U.S. researchers suggest.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the dietary intake and patterns among U.S. families and found the resemblance between children's and their parent's eating habits was weak.

Average dietary intake and dietary quality indicators were assessed using two 24-hour dietary recalls provided by study participants.

Senior author Dr. Youfa Wang assessed the overall quality of the participating children's and their parents' diets. Child-parent dietary resemblance in the U.S. is relatively weak, and varies by nutrients and food groups, he said.

"Factors other than parental eating behaviors such as community and school, food environment, peer influence, television viewing, as well as individual factors such as self-image and self-esteem seem to play an important role in young people's dietary intake," study co-author May A. Beydoun, a former post-doctoral research fellow at the Bloomberg School, said in a statement.

The study was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

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