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Children Learn Healthy Eating Habits By Imitating Their Parents

May 30, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also the best way to teach kids healthy eating habits, a U.S. study finds. The research focused on the eating habits of low-income families, finding that preschool children of mothers who led by example -- persuading rather than forcing their kids to eat fruits and vegetables -- tended to eat healthier foods. Parents are  better off adopting balanced eating habits themselves, subtly controlling their children's diet quality by not bringing unhealthy foods into the house. Conversely, overly restricting certain foods can lead to unhealthy eating.
M. Murashima et al., "Feeding behaviors of low-income mothers: directive control relates to a lower BMI in children, and a nondirective control relates to a healthier diet in preschoolers", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 30, 2012, © American Society for Nutrition
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