Mother’s diet affects kid’s eating habits

December 15th, 2010 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) A mother’s dietary habits have a vital bearing on whether her child consumes enough fruits and vegetables, according to a research. Professor Mildred Horodynski of College of Nursing, Michigan State University, looked at nearly 400 low-income women with children aged between one and three years enrolled in ‘Early Head Start’ programmes.

Results show toddlers were less likely to consume fruits and vegetables four or more times a week if their mothers did not consume that quantity, reports the journal Public Health Nursing.

When mothers viewed their children as picky eaters, unwilling to try unfamiliar foods, a decrease was also seen in the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed, according to a Michigan State release.

“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 fruits and vegetables even at young ages pose increased risks for chronic diseases later in life,” he added.

“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 up to 15 exposures may be needed before it can be determined if a child likes or dislikes a food.

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