Children have to be thought healthy habits at a very early age. By the time they are 6 years of age, they would have already picked up unhealthy habits. Even those with healthy habits tend to pick up unhealthy habits once in school. School going kids need to be monitored so that they continue to practice healthy habits.
When Do Children Pick Up Unhealthy Habits
An interesting study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behaviour. The researchers wanted to compare the eating habits of pre-school and school going children. The investigation was done via parent reporting of their children’s eating habits. Over 174 children participated in the study.
The researchers found that pre-school kids consumed more servings of low-fat dairy and fewer servings of sweetened drinks in a day. They also watched fewer hours of television on the weekend than school aged kids. The pre-schooled children also ate lesser amount of salty and sweet snack foods. A greater percentage of pre-school kids regularly consumed dinner with a parent than school aged kids.
In general, parents perceived that their pre-school aged kids (2 – 5 years) had far healthier habits than their school going kids (6-12 years). The researchers concluded that unhealthy habits were more prevalent in school aged kids. They suggested that healthy habits should be thought to kids during their pre-school age.
Monitoring Children When They Start School
The research above shows that most unhealthy habits start when kids start going to school. Kids generally have healthy habits when they are in the protected environment of the home. In school, they get exposed to unhealthy habits. There is also peer pressure to do the things that other kids are doing.
As such, parents should continue to teach and enforce healthy habits when their kids are in school. The early years of school are when children are probably most susceptible to being swayed.
Once a strong foundation for healthy habits have been set, it is very likely that the child will carry these habits all the way through their lives. This will help to curb the growing trend of obesity among children and teenagers.