Though the desire to eat healthy foods might be on many moms’ minds, their actual eating habits and nutritional knowledge have the most bearing on what their children eat, according to a study by The NPD Group.
The recent food- market research report, “What’s on the Minds of Moms and How Are They Coping,” also found that while moms’ eating behaviors greatly affect how their children eat, their actual eating patterns often fall short of their ideal attitudes about healthy eating.
Three-fourths of new moms and 65% of experienced moms say they actively seek out foods with nutrition benefits, the study found. However, these moms also are less likely to actually consume foods with nutrition benefits.
The study found that in households with kids, when the adult female has a good Healthy Eating Index (HEI) -? a measure of diet quality similar to federal dietary guidance – the majority of kids in the household are eating just as well.
In households where there is a lower HEI, however,? the percentage of kids who eat poorly rises dramatically.
“Do as I Say” Not Always Effective
Moms give themselves high marks when it comes to nutritional and healthy eating knowledge, NPD said.? More than two-thirds (67%) feel they are extremely or very knowledgeable about nutrition and eating, and 81% feel they are the primary source for nutritional education for their children.Yet when moms are asked to assess their children’s level of nutritional knowledge,? few rank their children extremely or very knowledgeable and? just more than half of children ages 6-17 were considered by their moms to be somewhat knowledgeable. One-fourth of moms considered their 6-12-year-olds not very knowledgeable, the study found.
This disconnect in knowledge is potentially problematic as children grow and must make healthy eating decisions for themselves.? It also presents a challenge for marketers and food educators to try to help moms’ communicate their healthy eating knowledge on theirkids.
“Theirs and their family’s healthy eating is clearly top-of-mind with moms, and their follow-through on this attitude has a direct impact on their family’s eating behavior,” said Dori Hickey, product development manager and author of the report, which is aimed at the food and beverage industry. “It’s clear by our findings that moms could use help in expanding their and their children’s nutritional knowledge, and the food and beverage industry can help in this regard.”