Teen moms beat obesity with breakfast

WASHINGTON U.-ST. LOUIS (US) — Teen mothers who eat breakfast have healthier weights and snacking habits that may influence healthy eating habits among their children.

“It’s important to look at dietary patterns among postpartum teens to help reduce weight retention and prevent intergenerational obesity,” says Debra Haire-Joshu, professor and obesity prevention expert at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Overall, breakfast consumption among postpartum teens is low and interventions are needed to encourage breakfast consumption among teen mothers.”

Because teen mother control the food their children eat, “patterns exhibited by the mothers, including lack of breakfast and high-risk sweetened drink and snacking behavior, might influence the intake of their young child,” Haire-Joshu says.

“Over time and left unchanged, these behaviors are reinforced as the child observes that parent and has access to high risk foods in their environment.”

The study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, followed 1,330 postpartum teens across 27 states enrolled in the Parents as Teachers Teen Program. Participants completed a seven-day recall of all their breakfast, snack, and beverage consumption.

Almost half (42 percent) of the sample consumed breakfast fewer than two days per week.

Those who ate breakfast six to seven days per week consumed 1,197 fewer kilocalories per week from sweet and salty snacks, 1,337 fewer kilocalories per week from sweetened drinks, and had a lower BMI compared to those who ate breakfast fewer than two days per week.

Consumption of fruits, vegetables, milk, water, and cereal as a snack were higher among regular breakfast consumers.

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