Parental Thinking About What Kids Eat

When it comes to what kids eat, it seems like the proof is in the pudding — or maybe the Skittles. According to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, a large gap exists between what parents report kids eat and how they characterize their kids’ eating choices. The study looked at a period of time referred to as “crunch time” for families, that period between 3 pm and bedtime when crucial decisions get made that affect kids’ fitness and weight, and it asked parents questions about a number of areas, including exercise, eating habits, food preparation, and sleep.

One of the study’s most interesting findings concerned perceptions regarding what kids eat. According to the poll, 87% of parents said they believe their children ate a diet that helped them achieve or maintain a healthy weight during the crunch time window. But when asked what their kids ate a day before, nearly half (48%) said their children had had candy, cupcakes, cookies, or ice cream. More than a quarter said they’d had potato, tortilla, or corn chips. Nearly one in five (18%) said they’d had fast food, like a burger, french fries, or pizza. This may represent a struggle going on in parents’ heads between what they wish and what they know.

Click here to read more from NPR and here to read a summary of the study findings.

Kindergarten Snack image © DuncanCV / Wikimedia

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