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Kids seldom follow parents' diet patterns

The way parents eat may have little impact on their children's diets.

Kids seldom follow parents diet patterns

The way parents eat may have little impact on their children's diets.

It is generally accepted that parents are prime role models for their children when it comes to healthy eating. Some studies done in the past had also found close connections between parents' and children's eating habits.

To study the association in dietary intakes and patterns between parents (aged 20-65 years) and their children (aged 2-18 years), researchers from America used survey data from 1061 fathers, 1230 mothers, 1370 sons and 1322 daughters. The researchers studied the dietary intake of the participants.

Parents' diets were found to show little resemblance to their children's, regardless of the children's age or parents' income and education levels. Also, younger children were even less likely than teenagers to have eating habits similar to those of their parents. Instead, a number of outside influences such as TV and friends may dilute the impact parents have on their children's food choices.

Factors other than parental eating behaviour such as community and school, food environment, peer influence, television viewing, as well as individual factors such as self-image and self-esteem seemed to play an important role in young people's dietary intake.

The researchers suspect that the child-parent resemblance in dietary intake may have become weaker over time due to the growing influence of other factors outside of the family.

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