I caught a bit of the mini-buzz this month around a new study revealing that parents eat more fat than childless adults. The news made my eyebrows scrunch together. Really? Then I saw the story summarized differently: “Having kids doesn’t inspire adults to eat healthier.” Well, heck. I’m not surprised by that news at all, though this marks one of the first examinations of parental eating habits.
More than 2,500 adults were studied by the University of Iowa and the Iowa City VA Medical Center for 20 years.. At the beginning, no one had children. Focusing on the parents in the group over the first 7 years of their child’s life, Moms and Dads increased their intake of saturated fat by 2.1%; the adults without kids ate 1.6% less of the stuff.
Many of the Moms I know work diligently to get healthy foods down their kids’ throats. But, who hasn’t been in a lofty place with the power to tell someone else what to do…and then gone and done exactly the opposite? Eat as I say, Little Ones, now go play while I eat what I want.
If there’s leftovers on the child’s plate, or special goodies in the house “for the kids” like Oreos or brownie mix, Mom’s gonna get a taste. It’s not a sin. It’s reality. And, convenience foods, from DiGiorno’s Pizza to Hot Pockets, may be the real culprits here.
The study’s lead investigator Dr. Helena Laroche said, “We found that parenthood does not have unfavorable effects on parents’ diets but neither does it lead to significant improvements compared to non-parents, as health practitioners would hope.”