Kids Crave Fast Food? Blame Dad

Julie Ryan Evans
3

fast food meal If your child craves chicken nuggets and can't fathom a meal without French fries, it may not be your fault ... well, at least not all your fault. Turns out dads can be blamed for kids' crappy eating habits too! A recent study found that the more a father eats in fast food and other restaurants, the more his children eat fast food.

The study looked at 312 families in the Houston area with children between the ages of 9-15. Researchers found a strong association between the amount of time fathers spent in restaurants and the amount of time their children did, which typically means more fattening salty, unhealthy fare. Alex McIntosh, the study's lead author, told ABC:

By far the biggest influence on how often children ate out was the number of times fathers did. Fathers' time in and use of fast-food restaurants increased a kid's likelihood of going to a fast-food restaurant.

Furthermore, they found that children were more likely to eat junk food if their fathers were more authoritarian, believed they didn't have much control at their jobs, or if they didn't value family meal time.

Karen Ansel, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, told ABC the findings make sense.

For years, we've heard that moms have the biggest impact on their kids' food choices, but with mothers becoming more involved in the workplace and fathers' roles becoming more involved in caregiving at home, it's natural that kids will start to follow their father's lead, too.

Hear that, dads? Ditch the drive-through and eat with your family at home.

Overall, this study offers good and bad news. The bad news is that a love for fast food is being passed down through the generations, but the good news is if you can get dad to change, then kids will change too. And the best news -- for once, fingers aren't pointing at moms when it comes to screwing up our kids.

Does your husband eat a lot of fast food?


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