Better-Educated Parent Leads To More Nutritious Children
March 28, 2013

Better-Educated Parent Leads To More Nutritious Children

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

Researchers wrote in the journal Public Health Nutrition that the more educated the parent, the more likely their child would eat fewer fatty and sugary foods.

The study was performed on nearly 15,000 children between the ages of two and nine years old from eight European countries; including Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Spain.

The researchers found that parents with a lower level of education feed their children foods rich in sugars and fats more often than parents with a higher level of education, who feed their children more products of a higher nutritional quality, such as vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice and wholemeal bread.

"The greatest differences among families with different levels of education are observed in the consumption of fruit, vegetables and sweet drinks", explains Juan Miguel Fernández Alvira, the author of the work and researcher from the University of Zaragoza to SINC.

The researchers say their study implies a greater risk of developing obesity in children from less advantaged socio-culture groups.

"The [programs] for the prevention of childhood obesity through the promotion of healthy eating habits should specifically tackle less advantaged social and economic groups, in order to [minimize] inequalities in health", concludes Fernández Alvira.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says nearly 40 million children under the age of five suffered from being overweight in 2010. The recommendations for children over two are not much different than adults. Experts say their diet should include cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs and nuts.

Dieticians say parents should offer children a wide variety of foods and avoid using food as a method to reward or punish behavior.

University of Illinois researchers wrote in January about how adding minutes to family mealtime might help keep away childhood obesity. The team said that children in families who engage each other over a 20-minute meal four times a week weighed less than kids who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes.

Scientists are finding more and more reasons to try and put an end to childhood obesity. A UCLA study found that consequences of childhood obesity could actually be immediate. Children who are overweight face nearly twice the risk of having three or more reported medical, mental or developmental conditions than normal weight children.

“The findings should serve as a wake-up call to physicians, parents and teachers, who should be better informed of the risk for other health conditions associated with childhood obesity so that they can target interventions that can result in better health outcomes,” said lead author Dr. Neal Halfon, a professor of pediatrics, public health and public policy at UCLA.