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Parents’ eating habits affects their teens’ emotional eating

by Vaishali Sharma
eating habits

Poor eating habits and weight increase are associated with emotional eating, which is the act of utilising food as a coping mechanism for unpleasant, elevating, or stressful sensations. An investigation into teen vulnerability to emotional eating was released by Elsevier in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The article also covers how various feeding techniques, such as child engagement, food as a reward, and limitation, impact eating behaviour.

“It has previously been discovered that emotional eating is more learned than inherited. This study looked at how parents interact when feeding their kids as well as what kids learn from seeing their parents eat “said the study’s primary author, Joanna Klosowska, MSc, of the Ghent University’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care in Ghent, Belgium. With 218 families, the pilot study was done in 2017. Longitudinal data gathered in 2013 were furthermore accessible. The Child Feeding Questionnaire, the Child Feeding Practices Questionnaire, and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire were each completed by one parent from each home. With the help of the child-reported FEEL-KJ questionnaire, emotion control was evaluated. The researchers measured the adolescent’s height and body weight.

During the four years from 2013 to 2017, which spanned late childhood to middle adolescence, several parenting techniques evolved. Parents reported enhanced monitoring and good feeding habits modelling, despite the stated levels of food restriction and the healthy atmosphere remaining the same. During the same time period, teenagers reported a considerable increase in emotional eating, from below average in 2013 to above average in 2017, according to norms for the Dutch population. Additionally, the inappropriate method in which they handled their emotions was connected to emotional eating.

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Emotional eating was made worse by food as a reward and food monitoring, especially when teenagers utilised unhealthy coping techniques to handle their emotions. Child involvement in meals had the opposite effect because it was associated with higher levels of emotion regulation and lower levels of emotional eating. It’s noteworthy to observe that adolescents consumed less food out of emotion when their parents practised restrained eating.

This study shows that parental influence on children’s eating behaviours persists far into adolescence, according to Klosowska. More study is needed to completely comprehend how a parent’s regulated eating influences a child’s emotional eating.

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