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Briefs: Study finds that children without couples eat more healthily

childless Households eat more healthily

It may be an exaggeration to say that your children are making you sick, but a British study has found that couples with children eat a less healthy diet than those who have none. Researchers used data from a British government survey of 7,014 families who recorded their food purchases in a diary over two-week periods in 2003 and 2004. The new study, published in the European Review of Agricultural Economics, found that even after controlling for income, age and other factors, a childless household consumed about 4.4 pounds more fruit and vegetables per person over the two-week period. Having children in the house also reduced the demand for meat, and increased the consumption of dairy products, cereal and potatoes. "This confirms what we as parents know," said an author of the study, Richard Tiffin, a professor of economics at the University of Reading in England. "For whatever reason, the social dynamic in a household with children makes the diet on average more unhealthy."

Breast-feeding tied to school success

Yet another benefit of breast-feeding: improved academic performance later in childhood, at least in boys. Researchers in Australia recorded the breast-feeding duration of 1,038 babies and then, at age 10, tested them in mathematics, reading, writing and spelling. When they controlled for the mother's age, education, marital status, family income and other factors, they found that breast-feeding for six months or more was associated with better performance in all four academic skills, but only in boys. "We think boys tend to be more vulnerable to stress," speculated lead author Wendy H. Oddy, associate professor at the University of Western Australia.

Smokers, sugary foods affect kids

Two studies published Monday suggest that the road to hypertension and heart disease starts in childhood and that prevention should start there, too. One analysis found that parental smoking increases the risk for high blood pressure in preschoolers, and the other that excessive sugar consumption in teenagers is associated with multiple factors known to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Both reports appear in the journal Circulation. The first study looked at 4,236 children in Germany, and found that even after considering body mass index and parental hypertension, having a smoker as a parent substantially increased the likelihood that a child would have blood pressure readings in the top 15 percent of the sample. The second report was based on 2,157 U.S. adolescents surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found they got an average of 476 calories a day from added sugars.

New York Times

Briefs: Study finds that children without couples eat more healthily 01/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6:09pm]
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