It is no mystery why children struggle with poor eating habits that often lead to chronic health problems later in life. One reason is the lack of health information on food products. But according to Jane Rees, director of nutrition service/education in adolescent medicine and lecturer pediatrics at the University of Washington schools of Medicine and public health, a lot of the fault can be based off the parent's guidance. This problem is a result of the hectic lives of parents combined with the highly impressionable mind of a child. For lasting results, young children require guidance in order to learn the importance of nutrition.
Poor eating habits lead to a lack of the necessary vitamins and nutrients required for development. Additionally, research shows that heart and blood vessel disease, among others can begin very early without proper diet. With junk food advertising and packaging that focus on attracting children, it is the parent’s job to combat this. Parents are advised to start training their children as soon as they can talk, since they are most influenced by their family during pre-school years. An important recommendation is to carefully read food labels to ensure a low sugar, low fat, and unprocessed diet. Other tips include involving young children in the food preparation process, like grocery shopping and setting the kitchen table. This helps develop a positive attitude towards food because it gives children a sense of responsibility that will prepare them to make healthier food choices. But once a child falls into the junk food habit, it can be a difficult one to break.
Evidence suggests that nutritional guidance is less effective if the idea hasn't been built up over time. Especially past the age of 10, it is common for children to form reluctance towards healthy eating habits. At this point, eating disorders become more prevalent, proposing even more difficulty for a parent. Typically, young women will develop avoidance towards food because they view it as a threat to slimness. On the other hand, boys will take muscle building supplements which not only turn into a physical problem, but emotional as well. At this point parents are suggested to call a family meeting to rationally stress the benefits of eliminating junk food. There is more hope for adolescents with poor eating habits.