Pregnant women teach their children bad eating habits

A study published in the Journal Public Health Nursing, found a correlation between mothers’ eating habits and their children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables. The study was affiliated with Michigan State University and administered to nearly 400 low-income white and black mothers of children from one to three years old.

A child is not as capable of making smart choices in food when the mother’s own choices are unstable. The study revealed that if the mother does not eat vegetables and fruits at least four times a week or she thinks of her child as a finicky eater, the child will also fail at meeting this standard of vegetables and fruits.

The women who reported their children as eating too few vegetables and fruits also admitted to their own failure to consume these quantities. However, if the mother perceived her toddler as finicky she reported the same, even if she herself ate an adequate amount of the right foods.

Mildred Horodynski, professor of Nursing at Michigan State University, and her colleagues deduced that the mother’s eating habits directly impact their children’s. They noted that children considered finicky eaters were less likely to try unfamiliar foods, which resulted in a lower consumption of vegetables and fruits.

The study covered 28 counties in the state of Michigan and targeted mothers of varying ethnic backgrounds. The view that a child is a finicky eater is tied to both culture and parenting style. The data showed that black mothers and their young children did not consume nearly as many fruits and vegetables as white mothers and toddlers. Most mothers studied did not meet the USDA dietary recommendations.

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