Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adults with Kids at Home Eat More Fat

When my children were young, and as a working mom, I often sought the foods that I could put on the table quickly and without hearing the dreaded, “Ewwww… do I have to eat THAT?!” I also loaded my pantry with those easy-to-distribute and “fun” to eat pre-packaged snacks that were easy to throw in a backpack, lunch box, or that my children could grab when they got home from school.

Unfortunately, many of those foods are loaded with fat. Like so many other parents who make these same food choices for their children, that fat also ended up in my diet.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, adults who have young children at home are eating significantly more fat than those who live without children. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that included a national sample of almost 7,000 adults, researchers from the University of Iowa found that adults with children in their home consumed nearly 5 more grams of fat and 1.7 more grams of saturated fat every day – about the same as a slice of pepperoni pizza! Figure that amounts to eating a pizza a week!

They reported that “time pressures and constraints, children’s preferences for high fat, high sugar foods and parents’ perceptions of what children are likely to eat” lead parents to purchase more restaurant, ready-to-eat, or snack foods that are typically higher in fat content. And, when they are available, parents are more likely to eat these foods as well.

The researchers point out that while parents should be guiding what their children eat, instead the kids are influencing their parents’ diets. They recommend that parents seek healthier meal and snack options that will improve the diet of the entire family!

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