Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mothers' personalities and children's diets

A survey of 27,673 mothers in Norway has found that those with more negative thoughts and feelings are more likely to give their children unhealthy food. The mothers were asked about their mental states and how often they gave their 18-month-old children 36 types of food and drink. Mothers who were emotionally unstable, anxious, angry, sad, had poor self-confidence and who had a negative view of the world were more likely to give their children sweet and fatty food, although they also gave them as much healthy food as the other mothers. The findings took into account the child's sex; maternal smoking, age, education and body-mass index (BMI); whether the child went to nursery; number of children; income and marital status. Even when all these factors had been taken into account the link between the mothers' personality and the children's diets remained. Mothers who smoked, had a high BMI, had many children, had a male child and who sent their children to nursery were more likely to feed their children an unhealthy diet. Older women, and women who had been through higher education were more likely to feed their children healthily.

You can find out more about this research at

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