Do emotions affect your child’s eating habits?

Christine Hotaru Naya, MPH, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, says when meals and snacks are less structured and supervised than those, school day. Children often make their own decisions. ”

This study sampled 195 ethnically diverse children currently in third through sixth grade living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Children used a mobile phone app and were contacted seven times per day to answer questions. When contacted, they were asked if they felt stressed, angry or sad and reported making any unhealthy eating choices among fried foods, sweets and junk food. sugary drinks in the previous two hours or not.


Unhealthy eating habits are on the rise in children

Across all foods sampled, most frequently reported sweet food consumption. Children reported eating sweets or cakes at least once a day for 40% of the days. French fries or potato chips are eaten at least once daily for nearly 30% of the days, and sugary drinks are consumed at least once daily on 25% of the days.

How does mood affect children’s food choices?

The researchers also determined three negative mood patterns in a day: low stability; early rise and late fall; and fall early and rise late. In the study, on 90% of the days, children reported consistently low levels of negative mood, but reminders of varying moods throughout the day.

“We found fried food consumption is higher on days with altered emotional patterns than on days with consistently low negative mood“Naya said.” These results are consistent with other studies that have found negative mood to positively predict children’s fatty food intake“Sweet eating and soda consumption did not follow the same pattern in this study.

Co-author Daniel Chu, MPH, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, notes, “This study has several strengths, including repeatability. back in the family, and we were able to test a population of healthy children so that the results could be widely applied.”

These findings add to the evidence for incorporating mood and emotion-based components into targeted interventions. improve children’s dietary outcomes and eating behavior. Specifically, the results show that morning and evening are two vulnerable periods when shifts in negative emotions can influence food choices.

Naya concludes: “More research is needed for us to understand the relationship between children’s emotions and their food choices, but this is a good start on the road to realizing a real choice approach. products with one’s moods and feelings”.

“We can improve our current interventions to be individually tailored to the environmental, social, emotional, and cognitive context in which unhealthy eating occurs.”

Source: Eurekalert

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