Emotional eating, or using food as a coping strategy for unpleasant, uplifting, or stressful feelings, is linked to poor dietary habits and weight gain. Teenage susceptibility to emotional eating is covered in a research article that was published by Elsevier in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The article also discusses how different feeding strategies used by parents, like restriction, food as a reward, and child involvement, affect eating behaviour. ( Also read: Are you stress eating? Know all about it here)
“It has previously been discovered that emotional eating is more learned than inherited. This study looked at how parents interact when feeding their kids as well as what kids learn from seeing their parents eat “said the study’s primary author, Joanna Klosowska, MSc, of the Ghent University’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care in Ghent, Belgium.
With 218 families, the pilot study was done in 2017. Longitudinal data gathered in 2013 were furthermore accessible. The Child Feeding Questionnaire, the Child Feeding Practices Questionnaire, and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire were each completed by one parent from each home. With the help of the child-reported FEEL-KJ questionnaire, emotion control was evaluated. The researchers measured the adolescent’s height and body weight.
Some parental practices changed during the four years between 2013 and 2017, which covered the period from late childhood to middle adolescence. While the stated levels of food restriction and the healthy environment remained the same, parents reported increased monitoring and healthy modelling feeding habits. According to standards for the Dutch population, throughout the same time frame, adolescents reported a significant rise in emotional eating, from below average in 2013 to above average in 2017. Additionally, emotional eating was linked to the unhelpful way in which they managed their emotions.
Food as a reward and food monitoring enhanced emotional eating, particularly when adolescents used unhelpful coping mechanisms to manage their emotions. Since it was linked to stronger levels of emotion management and lower levels of emotional eating, child participation in meals had the opposite impact. It’s interesting to note that teenagers ate less emotionally when their parents exhibited controlled eating habits.
According to this study, parents continue to have a significant influence over their children’s eating habits even into adolescence, said Klosowska. To fully understand how a parent’s controlled eating affects a child’s emotional eating, more research is required.
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