Healthy eating a challenge for moms

April 13, 2011 - 0:0

Maybe it's the time pressures that come with chasing a toddler around the house, but something is keeping new moms from eating correctly.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that young mothers -ranging in age from about 20 to 30 -reported higher consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and saturated fat if they had children five or younger in comparison to women of a similar age without children.
It was also found mothers in this study had higher overall calorie intakes than the other women -2,360 a day compared with 1,992, respectively -and had higher body-mass index scores.
Among men in the same age bracket, there were no significant differences found between fathers of young children and non-parents in terms of diet and BMIs. Physical activity was found to be lower for both mothers and fathers in comparison to their childless counterparts.
The study's authors theorized that mothers could be preparing more high-fat foods, such as macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets -and eating them too -because they take less time to make and are liked by children.
""Another potential explanation for the higher
[calorie] intake and BMI for mothers is that they may modify their milk consumption habits, including drinking the higher-fat milk that their children drink,"" the study said.
The researchers wrote that since mothers are, more often than fathers, primary caregivers, they are more likely to be consumers of the same food and drinks they serve their children.
Lower rates of physical activity among either sex of parents could be explained by the lack of time and energy that comes from taking care of children, the study said.
It said the insignificant differences in weight between fathers and non-fathers, despite the lower activity levels of the former, ""may be related to the fact that fathers in this study are young and are early in their establishment of dietary and physical activity patterns.
Therefore, the weight implications of being less physically active may not yet have come to fruition.