How Parents Influence Healthy Habits

by Together Counts Partner | November 8, 2016 at 10:23 am | comments


According to researchers at Duke Medicine, moms that encourage their children to exercise and eat well, and model healthy habits themselves, are more likely to raise active and healthy eaters.

As a Together Counts™ partner, we recognize that these findings, published online in the International Journal of Obesity, remind parents that they are role models for their children. The findings also draw attention to the importance of parental policies promoting physical activity and healthy eating.

Parent’s Healthy Habits Make an Impact on Kid’s Health & Wellness.

Exercise and healthy diets are critical in preventing childhood obesity.

camp-shane-2“Obesity is a complex phenomenon, which is influenced by individual biological factors and behaviors,” said study author Truls Østbye, M.D., PhD, professor of community and family medicine at

Duke. “But there are variations in obesity from one society to another and from one environment to another, so there is clearly something in the environment that strongly influences the obesity epidemic.”

Parenting and a child’s home environment play a huge role in a child’s health by shaping dietary and physical behaviors, such as providing access to fruits and vegetables or encouraging kids to play outside.

Environments Play a Role in Shaping Health.

camp-shane-3The researchers also found significant associations between environmental measures and children’s’ physical activity and the types of food consumed. They concluded that to promote healthy behaviors in children, a healthy home environment and parental role modeling are important.

For example, parental policies supporting family meals increased the amount of healthy foods kids ate. Overall, the home environment had more influence on the children’s dietary habits than on their physical activity levels.

All in all, this study reminds parents that their children are watching and learning from observing their behaviors, both good and bad.

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For more ideas on how to incorporate healthy habits into your children’s lives, take a look at these other posts from Together Counts!