Rewarding children with food could lead to emotional eating

Posted on April 13, 2016

Photo: flickr

Parents who use very overly controlling feeding practices with their children, such as using food as a reward or a treat, could be unintentionally teaching their children to rely on food to deal with their emotions. These children may be more likely to 'emotionally eat' later in childhood.

These are the conclusions of a longitudinal study of parents and their children carried out by Dr Claire Farrow from Aston University and her colleagues at Loughborough and Birmingham universities.

The researchers then followed the children up when they were aged 5-7 to explore whether earlier feeding practices influenced the development of emotional eating in the children. The researchers assessed how likely the children were to eat snack foods, or play with toys, when they were not hungry but were mildly stressed. The results showed that children were much more likely to emotionally eat at ages 5-7 if their parents had reported using more food as a reward and were overtly controlling with foods when the children were younger.


Category(s):Eating Disorders, Parenting

Source material from Aston University


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