Kids tend to mimic a lot of what their parents do, and that goes for their eating habits too. In one study of parent-child diet quality, researchers at the University of Delaware determined that how well (or poorly) children eat is strongly influenced by the dietary habits of their parents.
After analyzing the data collected for nearly 700 families with school-age children, study authors believe the connection may be closely tied to the growing obesity problem in the United States and the health problems that go along with it—including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
“Unfortunately people are not doing very well in terms of diet quality,” said lead author Shannon Robson, who hopes this study and others like it will be influential in helping parents understand the importance of being good dietary role models. On a broader scale, it may also lead to more effective strategies for improving health and nutrition nationwide Researchers also found that American kids are eating too many empty calories (likely from sugary drinks and processed foods) and not enough fruits and vegetables.