Taken from Yahoo Health
Good news for parents of fussy eaters: You didn’t create them. In an effort to find out what drives unhealthy eating patterns among children, researchers from University College London compared children’s eating behaviors to their mothers’ reactions to said behaviors and found that parents are usually responding to (not the cause of) fussy eating or overindulgence.
The details: The authors collected questionnaire data from 244 mothers of children between the ages of 7 and 9. The moms filled out one survey related to their children’s eating behaviors, agreeing or disagreeing to statements that measured how a child responds to food (for instance, “If allowed to, my child would eat too much”), their child’s enjoyment of food, and whether their child ever avoids food (for instance, “My child gets full before his/her meal is finished” and “My child takes more than 30 minutes to finish a meal.”). The second survey related to the mother’s feeding habits, agreeing or disagreeing to statements like “If my child says ‘I’m not hungry’ I try to get him/her to eat anyway,” or “If I did not guide or regulate my child’s eating, he/she would eat too much of his/her favorite foods.”
The authors found that what the mothers usually wanted from their children yielded the exact opposite result: Mothers who put more pressure on their children to eat were more likely to report having children who felt full before the end of a meal, ate slowly, were “fussy” eaters, or didn’t enjoy food very much in general. On the other hand, mothers who were more restrictive of what their children ate (those who agreed strongly with the statement “If I did not guide or regulate my child’s eating, he/she would eat too much of his/her favorite foods”) were more likely to have kids who they reported would eat too much if allowed.
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