Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Parents have less influence than commonly believed

A study published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine reports that parents have less influence on their children's diets than is commonly believed.

According to one of the study's authors, Youfa Wang of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "[c]hild-parent dietary resemblance in the US is relatively weak, and varies by nutrients and food groups and by the types of parent-child dyads and social demographic characteristics such as age, gender and family income."

Other factors that "seem to play an important role in young people's dietary intake" include "community and school, food environment, peer influence, television viewing, as well as individual factors such as self-image and self-esteem," noted study author May Beydoun, also of the Bloomberg School.

The authors recommend that future studies focus on factors such as peer pressure. The researchers used USDA data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the USDA 2005 Health Eating Index; 1,061 fathers, 1,230 mothers, 1,370 sons and 1,322 daughters were sampled. I

n another survey, by Mintel, findings showed parents do feel responsible for their children's' weight, with 78 percent of parents saying they blame themselves if their child was overweight.

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