New research highlights importance of parent-child communication to combat obesity

Published on November 9, 2010 at 6:02 AM · No Comments

New research, announced Saturday at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston, highlights the importance of parent-child communication in the battle against childhood obesity.

“Less than half (49 percent) of the students said that their parents frequently talk to them about making healthy choices and 39 percent said they wish their parents would make healthier food choices.”

As part of its proprietary survey program, Student ViewPOINT™, ARAMARK Education, a leading provider of school food and nutrition services, surveyed almost 40,000 middle school and high school students across the country. The research revealed that parent-child communication has a significant influence on the nutrition habits of children. ARAMARK found that when parents talk to their children about healthy choices, their interest in healthy food increases dramatically, from 44 percent to 73 percent. The research also showed that with parental involvement children are more likely to read nutrition labels to help them make better food choices, increasing from 27 percent to 63 percent.

"Proper nutrition and physical activity are critical elements in the fight against childhood obesity and other nutrition-related diseases," said registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association President Judith C. Rodriguez. "We are pleased to see that parents and children continue to show a growing interest in making healthier food choices. By communicating with each other more frequently, they can better understand the link between a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, including its effect on the management and prevention of disease."

"Our research revealed the critical role parents play in communicating with children about healthy food choices," said Linda Sceurman, MS, RD, LDN and National Director of Nutrition and Menu Development for ARAMARK Education. "Less than half (49 percent) of the students said that their parents frequently talk to them about making healthy choices and 39 percent said they wish their parents would make healthier food choices."

ARAMARK Education used the findings from this research to develop Healthy for Life™, a comprehensive wellness and nutrition education program designed to engage parents and students in wellness.

The Healthy for Life program, now in place at 1,000 schools, focuses on creating healthier school environments through nutritious menus, nutrition education and curriculum, parental resource materials, a nutrition mascot, health fairs and school events.

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