Children who's mothers binge eat are more likely to develop unhealthy habits of their own according to a new US study.

By contrast those who eat a healthy diet at home set the best example for young children who subconsciously monitor every mouthful their parents eat.

Scientists at Michigan State University focused on the eating habits of low-income families and found that overtly restrictive feeding plans often led children to 'rebel' against healthy foods.

Lead researcher and nutrition expert Professor Sharon Hoerr said: "Mothers should stop forcing or restricting their kids' eating.

"They'd be better off providing a healthy food environment, adopting balanced eating habits themselves and covertly controlling their children's diet quality by not bringing less healthy foods into the house.'

Additional parental tips in the report, which features in the current edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, include maintaining regular meal and snack times, offering smaller portions of healthy foods and allowing the children to decide how much they will eat.

Posted 01/06/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com