Children, especially young ones, emulate what they’re used to seeing. Words you say are learned and repeated. Habits that you reinforce stick until they’re older. Even eating patterns they are accustomed to don’t exactly go away even when they leave home and start lives of their own. According to researchers at the Newcastle University in England, eating habits that have been nurtured since childhood have a tendency to withstand even outside influences like new friends and environments.
Pulling data from a University of Michigan study, the researchers studied 236 sibling pairs aged 10 to 18 who lived in one house as well as 840 adult siblings living separately. They began to review factors which might influence the siblings’ eating habits, such as whether they ate breakfast together or not and whether they participated in any physical activities after school.
Based on the results, it appeared that the younger sibling pairs do have similar patterns when it came to eating and exercise. Those who ate healthily had a lower body mass index (BMI) while those who didn’t subsequently had a higher BMI. The adult siblings also exhibited the same similarities.
However, the study also uncovered an interesting twist. While external factors such as friends had an influence on eating habits, researchers found out that they didn’t have as strong a staying power as childhood habits.
This only presents more evidence supporting the belief that parents do have a hand in shaping their children’s future. What you ingrain in your kids at an early age will definitely have a strong influence in the way they approach food even after they leave the nest, so make sure you teach them good eating habits.
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(Photo by Ernesto JT via Flickr Creative Commons)