The Effect of Parenting Attitudes Parental attitudes have such a great bearing on nutritional behaviour, it is vital to foster a preference for healthy foods in the most effective manner.
Obesity - genetic and environmental Obesity is a complex condition influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. For children, overweight and obesity is defined using growth charts and adjusted BMI cut-off points. Currently in Europe, one in five children is overweight or obese.
|Model Healthy Eating||The current UK interventions promote awareness of healthy food choices, but offer little guidance for parents on child-feeding behaviours.|
|Evidence-based tips for getting kids to eat good foods||One answer is that they are modelling the behaviour of their own parents, having learned how to parent in the course of being parented. Yet another major determinant of their behaviour lies in their general attitudes as well as specific beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that are activated during parenting:|
Genes define the propensity to become overweight, and diet and physical activity can determine to what extent that propensity becomes a reality. In addition, behaviours are influenced by the environment.
The age range of focus is from the time solid foods are introduced until children enter primary school around age five or six. Eating habits developed when young influence lifelong eating behaviours.
Once children begin school, most have already developed their food preferences likes and dislikes so achieving behaviour change is more difficult. This reflects an evolutionary response that was historically useful because the sweet taste signalled sources of energy calorieswhile bitter tastes signalled foods that might be toxic.
Some researchers believe that infants begin to accept bitter tastes around the age of 14— days. A reluctance to try new foods is called neophobia. It presents many challenges for parents, and they respond in a variety of ways. Some give their children what they want to pacify them. Others restrict highly palatable foods, pressure to eat fruits and vegetables, provide rewards for eating nutritious foods, or do nothing at all.
Recent research provides answers as to why young children act this way towards food and how parents can best respond to encourage healthy eating habits that will last into adulthood.
Parental actions that seem intuitive — restricting less nutritious foods, pressuring to eat nutrient-rich foods, or rewarding for good behaviours — might actually be counterproductive and lead to unhealthy habits, which might lead to obesity for children later in life. Restricting a tasty food from children usually increases their desire for it.
In addition, some studies have found that children with restrictive parents were more likely to be overweight later in life.
In contrast, a moderate amount of restriction could be beneficial. Children whose parents moderately restricted what they ate were found to consume fewer calories overall than children whose parents used high or low amounts of restriction. Older children who said their parents were authoritative — active in meal times but not restrictive — ate more fruit, fewer sweets and fatty snacks, and breakfast more days of the week than children who claimed their parents were neglectful.
Pressuring children often deters them from eating certain foods and has also been associated with a lower body weight and picky eating. However, this does not mean that pressuring causes a lower body weight or picky eating; instead, it is thought that when parents have children who are picky eaters or are underweight, they are more likely to pressure them to eat.
Rewarding Rewarding children for healthy eating is another common practice among well-intentioned parents. However, rewarding with a highly palatable food can defeat the purpose of rewarding. In addition, rewarding does not allow children to develop intrinsic motivation for healthy eating.
Parents may see better results from offering a variety of foods starting at a young age and repeating exposure to foods even if the child does not like them at first.
A UK study found that exposing four to six year olds to vegetables and giving them a sticker for eating them was the most effective at increasing their intake of vegetables compared to exposure plus verbal praise or just exposure.
The environment is partly to blame for less and poor modelling. People eat away from home more often, which can mean poorer food choices are modelled.Eating is no different, and the way parents talk about food, cook meals and eat are the most important influence of developing healthy eating habits on a child.
Research shows that family mealtimes have a big impact on how children eat as they grow into adulthood and start making food choices of their own. Model Healthy Eating. Understanding the social and environmental factors that influence physical activity is important in the development of effective interventions to increase physical activity behavior in children and adolescents.
One factor that has received considerable research attention is the influence of parenting practices and behaviors on child physical activity. Does sugar make children hyperactive? Dread birthday parties because of the effect cakes and drinks will have on your child?
Evidence shows this actually affects parents’ behaviour, not the. Food prices have a marked influence on food-buying behaviour and, consequently, on nutrient intake.
A small tax (but large enough to affect sales) on high-volume foods of low nutritional value, such as soft drinks, confectionery, and snack foods, may discourage their use.
Within the framework of a child-responsive model, these feeding strategies can be interpreted as a response to child weight: parental efforts to restrict food intake may be a response to children’s overweight, while parents of children with underweight probably pressure their children to eat more.
FOOD & NUTRITION / MAY ‘ Fostering Healthy Eating Habits in Children: The Effect of Parenting Attitudes Parental attitudes have such a great bearing on nutritional behaviour, it is vital to foster a preference for healthy foods in the most effective manner.