-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Fathers have a major influence
on how often their children eat at fast-food and other types of
restaurants, new research shows.
The study included 312 families in Houston who were interviewed
about parents' work schedules, parenting style, beliefs about
family meals and the amount of time the children spend in the car
with parents. The children in the families were aged 9 to 11 and 13
Factors associated with eating out more included: both parents
having standard work schedules; kids spending more time in the
family car; and fathers' use of restaurants, according to the
researchers at Texas A&M University.
Meals served at restaurants tend to be higher in fat, calories
and salt than meals prepared at home, researchers said in a journal
The study authors made special note of the strong association
between fathers' and children's use of and time spent in both
fast-food and full-service restaurants.
The study is published in the May/June issue of the
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
"Since dietary behaviors, like relying on food away from home and eating fast food, have been shown to track from childhood through adolescence into young adulthood, fathers should be encouraged to model healthful food choices when they obtain food and to eat with children at home. After all, fathers who believe that dinner is an important family ritual reduce children's use of fast food; this perception should be encouraged among fathers," study author Alex McIntosh said in a journal news release.
The findings highlight the importance of pinpointing factors
that increase American families' use of restaurants, according to
The Nemours Foundation offers parents advice about
children and healthy eating.
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