Question of the Month

by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD on Apr 17, 2017

Food for Thought

Parents Know Better, But Kids' Diets Aren't Healthy

Parents seem to realize their kids need to eat better—but they're not doing much about it.

A recent national poll of 1,767 parents of kids aged 4–18, conducted by C.S. Mott Children"s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, found that while 97% of the grownups believed childhood eating habits have a lifelong impact on health, only 1 in 6 of them felt that their child's diet was very healthy.

What's fouling things up? Mostly cost, convenience and children's food preferences, the parents said. The poll also suggests that some parents may have given up: About 20% thought that limiting fast food and junk food and helping kids learn to eat different foods was not important or only somewhat important. Parents of teens tended to be less fretful about healthful eating strategies than parents of younger children.

This poll highlights the yawning gap between understanding the need for healthy childhood nutrition and raising children who actually eat healthy food. What about you: Have you solved the riddle of getting kids to try new—and nutritious—foods? How do you squeeze healthy eating into an incredibly busy life?

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About the Author

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD is a board-certified pediatrician, registered dietitian, and ACE Health Coach. She is committed to providing evidence-based nutrition and fitness information to health professionals and consumers alike in a way that is logical, practical and directly applicable to readers’ lives. She has authored over 100 publications and book chapters, all which are based on the latest scientific evidence and presented in a manner that is easy-to-understand and apply. She is Director of Healthcare Solutions for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) having written the nutrition chapters for each of ACE’s textbooks, the ACE Fitness Nutrition Manual and Specialty Certification, and recorded several Webinars and online courses. Furthermore, as a spokesperson for ACE, the largest fitness certifying and advocacy organization in the country, she informs broadcast and print media outlets throughout the U.S. on pertinent nutrition and fitness issues. She is author '"Eat Your Vegetables!" and other mistakes parents make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters'. She presented a similar topic at IDEA World 2009; the video is available for purchase through IDEA. Certifications: ACE, ACSM and NSCA