A positive example set by parents promotes fruit and vegetable consumption among children

A positive example set by parents promotes fruit and vegetable consumption among children

A positive example set by both the mother and the father promotes the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries among 3-5-year-old children, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The study explored the association of the home food environment and parental influence with the consumption of vegetables among kindergarten-aged children. The findings were published in Food Quality and Preference . Children eat inadequate amounts of vegetables, fruit and berries across Europe and elsewhere, too. As the health and nutrition benefits of these foods are well-known, increasing their consumption among children is a challenge many countries are struggling with. Dietary habits also track from childhood to adulthood, and the period of early childhood is critical for adapting to a diet rich in greens. The researchers studied the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries, and the family's home food environment, through a survey taken by parents. The study looked at 114 kindergarten-aged children and their parents (100) in Finland. Raw and cooked vegetables and fruit and berries were analysed separately. The researchers found that to a certain degree, the consumption of vegetables is affected by different factors than the consumption of fruit and berries. Maternal example was associated with the consumption of raw and cooked vegetables as well as with the consumption of fruit and berries. Paternal example, on the other hand, was the strongest for cooked vegetables. This shows that teaching children to eat their greens is not something mothers should be doing alone. A positive example set by both parents is important, as is their encouragement of the child." Kaisa Kähkönen, Researcher and Nutritionist, University of Eastern Finland Related Stories



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