A child’s odds of becoming an emotional eater is largely influenced by how their mothers eat in response to their emotions, and how they use food with their children. In a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers surveyed almost 200 mothers of 3- to 5-year-olds in the UK, asking about their eating habits and those of their kids. They asked the mothers if they used food to reward children, sometimes restricted their kids’ access to certain foods, how much their children asked for food, and how much the mothers and their children ate in response to their emotions. Their data showed that children who were very motivated by food were more likely to pick up emotional eating from their mothers. Eating for comfort or in response to emotional times is problematic because it can cause overeating, which in turn can cause numerous health problems.
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