A new study has found that parents' eating behavior can contribute to a teenager’s emotional eating habits. Teenagers are in a tricky stage of development. They are dealing with pressure in their lives, like work, school, and social life. They are also trying to find who they are apart from their parents.
This makes sense, since they are on their way to adulthood, and part of that is learning to make choices for themselves. They have to start learning how to find their own way in life, and a big part of that is making choices surrounding their food. They have to learn to make healthy eating choices, and studies are being done to look at how this happens.
According to Medical Xpress, a new study was done stating a teenager’s likelihood of emotional eating can be influenced by the eating behavior of their parents.
This study continues to show the importance of a parent’s influence on their child as they age and develop. This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, and it can be read in full here.
Emotional eating is when we eat as a coping mechanism to deal with stress or negative events that happen in our lives. It is linked with an unhealthy eating pattern and weight gain, and it can be troublesome. The researchers looked into feeding practices by parents, like food restriction, food as a reward, and child involvement.
Researchers stated that it had already been known that emotional eating was a “learned” behavior and not genetic. They looked at what children learned from their parents while they were being fed by them, but also what they learned when they just watched what their parents ate, and how they acted around food. The study was done with 218 families, and parents filled out a child feeding questionnaire, as well as a child feeding practices questionnaire.
The results found that parents using food as a reward and monitoring food seemed to increase the emotional eating habits of children. This was likely due to teens learning at a young age that they can use food to regulate their emotions. It works when they are a child, so they continue to do it as they get older. The researchers stated that this study confirms that parents play a role in their child’s eating behavior, even when they are teenagers, and this is something that they should be mindful of.