Parents of young children eat more fatty foods and lead unhealthier lives, study claims

Daily Mail UK 11th April 2011

You’d be forgiven for thinking that chasing around after young children each day would leave parents in the best shape of their lives. But a study has found that the mothers and fathers of toddlers are more unhealthy than their childless peers. Mothers with young children are heavier and eat more calories and fatty foods, and consume more sugary drinks than childless women, scientists said. And both sexes are less active than those in their age group without children. Parents often opt for quick, easily prepared foods that are high in fat and calories, and by choosing these foods they may in turn serve them to their children, perpetuating a cycle of unhealthy eating, the study authors said. Co-author Dr Jerica Berge, a University of Minnesota researcher, said: ‘This isn’t a study about blame, this is about identifying a very high-risk time period’ for parents that doctors should be aware of so they can offer solutions. That may include diet advice, parent-child exercise classes, or just getting parents to take walks with their kids, the researchers said. The study involved 1,520 adults with an average age of 25, including parents with children younger than five years old.