Report about healthy eating for kids leads to national conversation

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March 6, 2017
Kids with fast food and healthy food

Parents face a variety of day-to-day challenges in providing a healthy diet for their children. This month’s Mott Poll report highlighted the struggles of encouraging healthy eating for children and some of the strategies parents use to promote healthy eating for their kids. The report has generated a lot of discussion across regional and national media sources. Here’s a roundup of the conversation.

Parents’ lack of confidence

Only one-third of parents in the Mott Poll are confident they are doing a good job shaping their child’s eating habits. This was the focus of an article in HealthDay: Most parents don’t think they’re meeting kids’ nutritional needs. Reporter Robert Preidt highlighted parents’ failure to endorse several healthy eating strategies, such as limiting sugary drinks, fast food, and junk food. Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark said, “Most parents understand that they should provide healthy food for their children, but the reality of work schedules, children’s activities and different food preferences can make meal preparation a hectic and frustrating experience.”

Parental challenges with cost, convenience

The cost and convenience of fast food and junk food was the focus of a USA Today piece: Parents struggle to keep the junk food out of little mouths. Reporter Jueun Choi interviewed a working mother of three who said, “It’s not easy to take the kids to a grocery store and pick the right things. They always want the sugary things.” Choi consulted several health professionals who offered advice for parents facing some of these challenges, including buying fruits and vegetables when they’re in season, planning meals ahead of time, and including your child in the shopping and cooking.

Starting good habits at home

Sara Laule, M.D., a pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and mother of two, chimed in with her own healthy eating strategies for her family in a Michigan Health blog post: How a pediatrician helps her family eat healthfully at home. Dr. Laule addressed challenges related to picky eaters, time and budget constraints, figuring out which foods are actually healthy, and curbing parental bad eating habits. Dr. Laule said, “Establishing good eating habits early really sets them up for the future.”

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