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2 January 2007
Kids Make You Fat

Grown-ups who live with children eat much more saturated fat than those who do not live with children, says a study from the University of Iowa. The researchers said that most family diet studies have examined how adults influence children's eating habits, but few studies have considered how children affect adults' food intake. "The analysis shows that adults' fat intake, particularly saturated fat, is higher for those who live with children compared to adults who don't live with children," said researcher Helena Laroche.

Compared to adults living without children, adults living with children ate an additional 4.9 grams of fat daily, the equivalent of nearly an entire frozen pepperoni pizza each week. Adults with children in the home were also more likely to eat foods such as cheese, ice cream, pizza and salty snacks.

"Adults with children in the home ate more of those snacks and other foods that we considered convenience foods," Laroche said. "These dietary choices may be due to time pressures, advertising aimed at children that also includes adults, or adults' perception that children will eat only hot dogs or macaroni and cheese. Once these foods are in the house, even if bought for the children, adults appear more likely to eat them."

Laroche offered some tips to avoid the kiddy fat trap:

  • Choose popcorn or low-salt pretzels over high-fat potato chips.
  • Children age 2 or older can be given lower fat, instead of whole, milk.
  • Avoid cooking in butter, lard or solid stick margarine to decrease your intake of saturated fats; try baking or cooking in olive oil.
  • Limit the amount of fast food and pizza you eat to once a week or less. If this is not possible look for lower fat items on the menu and limit the amount that you eat.

Source: University of Iowa

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