Parent Diet Quality Correlates Strongly with Children’s Diet, Study Says

(Photo: Petr Kratochvil, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Petr Kratochvil, Creative Commons)

Scientists have discovered that the quality of parents' and children's diets is related. A study that analyzed 698 parent-child duos was produced to understand more fully the causes of obesity and associated problems such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

IANS reports that the participating children were six- to 12-years-old and resided in King County, Washington and San Diego County, California. The research took place from 2007 to 2009, and the data used for the investigation was produced by a Neighborhood Impact on Kids study. The findings were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The team reviewed up to three days of eating information from each parent and child with at least one weekend day and one weekday included. Ninety-eight percent of the subjects reported three days of food intake data.

The results showed that parents had a slightly higher score on diet quality. Children ate an average of 1,751 calories a day and mothers or fathers ate 1,763. It became apparent that parents' diets are the most powerful predictor of their children's quality of food intake.

"Unfortunately people are not doing very well in terms of diet quality. Parents had better diet quality than kids, but only by a little bit," said Assistant Professor Shannon Robson, University of Delaware.

The authors of the study found that the quality of children's diets is reduced because of processed food with empty calories and the absence of vegetables in their daily food intake.

The CDC explains that over a third of adults in the US are obese and 17% of the country's young people, ages 2 to 19, are corpulent.

The information gathered from the research was limited in several ways, reports ANI. One factor was the ethnic and racial diversity of the participants. Most participants were mothers, and researchers said some amount of bias in how parents report data for their kids could be another factor.

PTI reports that the team used the Healthy Eating Index of 2010 (HEI-2010), energy density (calories per gram of food), and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). HEI-2010 analyzes 12 dietary elements such as empty calories to assess the general quality of the food item.

The DASH score is based on eight food groups to measure the intake of foods like fruit, low-fat dairy items, and vegetables.

Parents who were part of the study averaged 64.5% of optimal levels on the HEI-2010 and only 56.6% of the optimal DASH score. Kids scored an average of 58.3% and 54.3% on the same respective instruments. The researchers controlled for BMI, demographics, and community status.

According to News-Medical, screenings were conducted before the parents and children were examined and excluded anyone with an eating disorder, psychiatric disorders, a chronic illness that affects weight, or medically prescribed dietary regimens.

And on the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute site, a study in the journal Nutrients conducted by Marla Reicks and her associates says that early adolescents' eating habits are also influenced by their parents, but in a somewhat different manner.

The impact can come from the availability of foods and beverages in the home and through perceived standard beliefs and expectations concerning the child's food intake. Researchers hoped that the information discovered in the analysis might inform parents of the necessity to intervene to prevent obesity in their young ones, especially during adolescence when children are eating independently.

07 11, 2016
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