A new study published online in Social Science and Medicine says that parents’ eating habits actually have little to do with what kids eat. The national study, which looked at a representative sample of 2291 parents and 2692 children found little similarity between kids’ and parents’ diets, with just a slight edge moms versus dads. However, the study did show that, especially as kids get older, peers have a far larger effect, with more similarities within peer groups. Kids do tend to eat what other kids are eating.
The study did not try to analyze why parents’ and kids’ diets don’t resemble each other more, but suggests that parents aren’t doing as good a job as they should to not only show good eating examples, but get kids to actually follow them.
Parenting advice: Watch what you eat, model good eating habits and make sure kids are eating a diet similar to the (good) one you are following. Failing that, make sure your children eat often with other kids who are healthy eaters.