Researchers looked at nearly 15 000 children, aged 2 to 9, in eight European
countries - Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden
- to examine the connection between parents' education levels and their
The study revealed that children of parents with low and medium levels of
education ate fewer fruits and vegetables and more processed foods and sweet
drinks, which are high in fats and sugars. Parents with higher levels of
education were more likely to feed their children foods with more nutritional
value, including vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice and whole-grain bread.
"The greatest differences among families with different levels of education
are observed in the consumption of fruit, vegetables and sweet drinks," study
author Juan Miguel Fernandez Alvira, from the University of Zaragoza in Spain,
said in a Plataforma SINC news release.
The findings suggest that children in families with lower social and economic
status are at greater risk for becoming overweight and obese, the researchers
"The programmes for the prevention of childhood obesity through the promotion
of healthy eating habits should specifically tackle less-advantaged social and
economic groups, in order to minimise inequalities in health," Fernandez Alvira
Worldwide, nearly 40 million children younger than age 5 were overweight in
2010, which highlights the need to monitor children's diets, according to the
World Health Organization.
The Nemours Foundation has more on healthy