A new study has found that if parents can’t afford fun trips for their families, they replace them with unhealthy foods. It is always interesting to see how families operate, and how they work from a psychological standpoint. If families cannot provide something for their children, do they “make up for it” with something else?

This is the concept that many researchers wanted to look at. Parents everywhere want to make sure their children have fun, that they are exposed to different experiences and adventures, but this can be hard to do. Fun trips and adventures cost a lot of money, and not a lot of families can afford that, so what do they do instead?

According to Medical Xpress, parents will take on unhealthy food routines for their family if they cannot afford activities. This study was done by City University London, and it can be read in full here.

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The study may have uncovered why low-income parents purchase a lot of unhealthy foods for their families, and that is that they are trying to compensate for non-food related activities. The study wanted to look at the food buying habits of low-income families.

They wanted to see how their food practices were influenced by what they call their “food environment” – which means where people can buy and eat food outside the home, and how they make decisions. They found that an environment where food was cheap and heavily marketed drove more families to purchase these foods for their children.

The study also found that when parents are not able to afford social activities for their children, like a play center, they will be more driven to compensate with treats. This means they will take their children to fast-food restaurants to make up for opportunities that they are missing. These places are not healthy, but they are an affordable option for parents who want to treat their children to something.

They will also have more family nights at home with board games, and while this may seem like a great alternative, families are still filling them with unhealthy treats. It may be an important reminder that you can have family fun nights to make up for missed opportunities, but the food provided should still be healthy choices. While it is understandable that parents want to be able to give their children everything, and be upset when they can’t, parents have to be mindful of the health of their children.

Sources: Medical Xpress, Science Direct