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Research suggests parents set example for healthy eating

21 Feb 2020
A positive example set by both parents can promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables among three to five year-old children, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

The research explored the association of the home food environment and parental influence on the consumption of vegetables through a survey taken by parents.

Kaisa Kähkönen, researcher and nutritionist at the University of Eastern Finland, said: “This shows that teaching children to eat their greens is not something mothers should be doing alone. A positive example set by both parents is important, as is their encouragement of the child.

“Variation can be created by serving raw vegetables, such as the ever-popular cucumber and tomato, accompanied by cooked ones. In fact, many root vegetables, cabbages and squashes are best served cooked.”

When it comes to eating fruit, evening snacks were the most important meal. The study also highlighted that families still eat less vegetables, fruit and berries on average than the recommended amounts.

The research suggested food education in early childhood supports good nutrition and promotes healthy eating habits.