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Kids ‘choose the same foods as mom and dad’

Author John Thompson
Submitted 05-11-2008

If some of your parenting skills are devoted to encouraging your kids to eat healthily, you may want to try leading by example, the findings of a new study suggest.

Research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that children tend to choose the same foods that their mothers and fathers do.

Dr Lisa A. Sutherland and colleagues gave 120 children between the ages of two and six the opportunity to choose items to purchase from a pretend grocery story that stocked 133 products – both healthy and unhealthy.

They also asked the kids’ parents to fill out surveys on how often they bought specific items. All of the parents indicated that their youngsters accompanied them to the supermarket.

Although most participants chose a variety of foods, 35 selected a disproportionate amount of healthy foods – choices that were reflected in their parents’ survey results.

"The data suggest that children begin to assimilate and mimic their parents’ food choices at a very young age, even before they are able to fully appreciate the implications of these choices," the authors write.

Meanwhile, separate research published in the same journal suggested that kids living with smokers may have less access to healthy foods than those raised in nonsmoking households.