Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Starting a family does not encourage parents to eat healthier

30.04.2012
Better strategies to support healthy eating needed, researchers report in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

It is often thought that starting a family will lead parents to healthier eating habits, as they try to set a good example for their children. Few studies, however, have evaluated how the addition of children into the home may affect parents' eating habits.

Changes in family finances, the challenges of juggling schedules, or a child's eating preferences may influence how a family eats. In one of the first longitudinal studies to examine the effect of having children on parents' eating habits, researchers have found that parenthood does not lead to healthier diets. The research is published online today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"We found that parenthood does not have unfavorable effects on parent's diets but neither does it lead to significant improvements compared to non-parents, as health practitioners would hope," reports lead investigator Helena H. Laroche, MD, University of Iowa and the Iowa City VA Medical Center. "In fact, parents lag behind their childless counterparts in decreasing their intake of saturated fat, and their overall diet remains poor."

The study evaluated the diets of 2,563 adults enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort study, a multi-center longitudinal prospective cohort study to identify the development of coronary risk factors in young adults. The study measured the change from the baseline year, 1985-1986, to year seven (1992-1993) for intake of percent saturated fat, calories, daily servings of fruits and vegetables and sugar-sweetened beverages, and frequency of fast food intake. None of the subjects had children in the home at the baseline year.

Researchers found that percent saturated fat decreased among both groups, but parents showed a smaller decrease compared to non-parents. There were no statistically significant differences in change in caloric, fruit and vegetable, sugar sweetened beverage, or fast food intakes. The effects of children in the household did not differ significantly by race, sex, age, or body mass index at the baseline year.

Parents decreased their saturated fat intake by 1.6% compared to 2.1% lower intake by non-parents. "A variety of factors may explain this," says Dr. Laroche. "Finding foods that children like and request has been described by parents as one of the major factors influencing purchasing decisions. Given that marketing strategies to US children focus on high fat, high sugar foods, these requests are often for less healthy foods."

Parents and non-parents showed an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption over time; however, the increase was greater than in other national studies. "Perhaps the motivation children provide to eat more fruits and vegetables balances out time factors, keeping parents in line with non-parents in increasing their intake. Children may have the potential to motivate this change, but perhaps in the US parents need more financial support and education, such as provided in other countries, to increase their fruit and vegetable intake further than they have," suggests Dr. Laroche.

Dr. Laroche notes that the data was collected from 1985 to 1993, and changes since that time could alter the findings in current families. Also self-reported dietary data is subject to desirability and recall biases.

"This study makes use of some of the best data available, but further study in a new cohort is warranted to monitor parent eating behaviors," Dr. Laroche concludes. "The transition to parenthood may be a teachable moment for dieticians and health practitioners to educate adults not only on child nutrition or nutrition for pregnancy, but on changing diet patterns for the whole family as well."

In an accompanying video, Dr. Helena H. Laroche discusses how nutrition education programs and health practitioners should develop strategies to support and motivate healthy eating patterns in parents. The video is available at http://andjrnl.org/content/podcast.

Eileen Leahy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.elsevier.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Graphene gives a tremendous boost to future terahertz cameras
16.04.2019 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Mount Kilimanjaro: Ecosystems in Global Change
28.03.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>