Activity and dietary habits of mothers and children: close ties

Greenberg, R. S.; Ariza, A. J.; Binns, H. J.

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2010 Aug 21; 49(11):1026-32


OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between activity and dietary habits reported by mothers for themselves and their children aged 2 to 11 years. DESIGN/METHODS: Cross-sectional, consecutive samples of parents at 13 primary care practices were surveyed on health behaviors. Survey questions were used to define 5 "healthy" habits: low-fat milk choice; low fast food use; low weekend screen time; low juice/sweet drinks intake; and high-frequency physical activity. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were applied. RESULTS: Responses from a socioeconomically diverse group of 2115 mothers were analyzed. For each healthy behavior self-reported by the mother, the odds of the healthy behavior being reported for the child were significantly higher (range: odds ratio [OR] = 3.2 for high-frequency physical activity to OR = 19.7 for low-fat milk choice). CONCLUSIONS: Mothers and children often have similar health habits. The impact of clinician counseling for children may be strengthened by promotion of healthy habits for their mothers.

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