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Parental Influence On Children’s Food Preferences And Energy Intake

Posted by Manipal Hospital
January 31, 2018

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Parents are the first dietitians of a child, guiding him as to what he should eat. Everyone has seen children with different eating habits. Some eat healthy food while others are addicted to junk. This difference goes down to the eating habits inculcated in them.

 

What seems pampering and affection in the early years of a child can actually ruin his future because of obesity as a result of ineffective parental guidance.

 

Obesity: A silent killer

Obesity is not considered a disease by many. However, it is quite dangerous and gives birth to many other paediatric infectious diseases. Kids who are obese are at a greater risk of falling prey to diabetes. Obesity is calculated on the basis of Body Mass Index of a person with height to weight ratio as the decider.

 

Until the children are of the age that they can go to primary schools, it is very important to accentuate their growth with a solid diet plan. Parents can have a bigger impact on the eating habits of their children when they are at a young age. As children grow up, their food habits tend to become permanent and it is difficult for children to assimilate changes. So, it is better to make a routine diet plan and incorporate it into the children’s lives.

 

It is found that when children get the chance to select their foods, they tend to pick up the items high with sugars, and saturated fats. However, when the children know they are being monitored by their parents, they pick up healthier foods with low sugar content.

 

Another effect of parental influence on child’s food preferences is seen when they are pressured to eating something they don’t like. Under observation, children who are regularly forced to eat respond worse than those who are promoted to eat healthy, told the benefits of healthy eating, and rewarded for developing a good eating habit. Also, pressuring the child has a negative impact on his growth and development by making him irritated and annoyed.

 

In another revelation, when children are forced to stay away from junk or snacks and they get an opportunity later, they tend to eat more than what is required. Other children, who had these foods occasionally, ended up eating them in comparatively lower amounts. Thus, there needs to be an effective solution. To combat this, parents can opt for substitutes of junk food. For example, chow mien can be replaced with vermicelli made of fibrous whole wheat. Burgers and pizzas can be home made and frozen food can be avoided.

 

All in all, it can be said that children’s diet, parent’s behavior, and children’s obesity are all interlinked. It is the responsibility of the parents to regulate their children’s diet, and most importantly educate them about how healthy eating is going to help them.

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