As health professionals search for ways to combat the rise in obesity and promote healthy eating, new research reveals a mother's own eating habits – and whether she views her child as a 'picky eater' – has a huge impact on whether her child consumes enough fruits and vegetables.
A study by professor Mildred Horodynski of Michigan State University's College of Nursing looked at nearly 400 low-income women (black and non-Hispanic white) with children ages 1-3 enrolled in Early Head Start programs. Results show toddlers were less likely to consume fruits and vegetables four or more times a week if their mothers did not consume that amount or if their mothers viewed their children as picky eaters.
"What and how mothers eat is the most direct influence on what toddlers eat," Horodynski said. "Health professionals need to consider this when developing strategies to increase a child's consumption of healthy foods. Diets low in fruit and vegetables even at young ages pose increased risks for chronic diseases later in life."
The research was published recently in the journal Public Health Nursing.
When mothers viewed their children as picky eaters – unwilling to try nonfamiliar foods – a decrease also was seen in the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed.
"Perceptions of a toddler as a picky eater may be related to parenting style or culture," Horodynski said. "Mothers who viewed their children as picky eaters may be more lax in encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables."
Previous research shows that early repeated exposure to different types of foods is needed; up to 15 exposures may be needed before it can be determined if a child likes or dislikes a food.
Horodynski's study, which collected information from mothers from 28 Michigan counties, also revealed differences among race: Black mothers and toddlers did not consume as much fruits and vegetables as non-Hispanic whites, though a majority of all study subjects fell below recommended U.S. dietary guidelines.
"Special attention must be given to family-based approaches to incorporating fruits and vegetables into daily eating habits," she said. "Efforts to increase mothers' fruit and vegetable intake would result in more positive role modeling."
In addition, Horodynski said, public health nurses and other health professionals must play an important role in enhancing mothers' awareness of the importance of health eating.
"Mother needs to have the knowledge and confidence to make these healthy decisions for their children," she said.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Jason Cody | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences