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16 May 2022

Parents in Carlow would benefit from guidance on children's food phobias - Safefood study

Parents in Carlow would benefit from guidance on children's food phobias - Safefood study

Irish parents would benefit from guidance on children's food phobias - Safefood study

Parents in Carlow and across Ireland would benefit from guidance on children's food phobias, including irrational fears or dislike of certain foods. 

That's according to a study published this week from Safefood - 'Exploring the World of Food' - which examined factors influencing the eating habits of families in Ireland. 

It found parents' choices were routinely guided by children's preferences, perceived dietary requirements and perceived needs. 

Parents were noted as devising strategies to ensure children ate a balanced nutritious diet, such as through negotiating with the child to eat foods perceived as healthy, buying low-sugar items or using creative methods to "hide" vegetables in meals. 

The study made a number of recommendations, including the development of resources to provide parents with guidance on working around children's food phobias and to include more fruit and vegetables into diets. 

It also recommended healthy eating campaigns should consider framing messages around the value of eating together as a family due to proven health benefits. 

The Covid-19 pandemic and its effects were also flagged in the study. 

It is noted as having had a "significant effect on altering patterns of food buying, food-related practices and consumption" with both positive and negative changes.  

This includes a positive increase in families eating together, while a negative aspect includes an increase in food insecurity and reliance on food assistance due to unemployed parents experiencing a drop in income. 

Further research on the wider and longer-term impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on food and consumer behaviours, dietary practices and food insecurity has been recommended. 

It's hoped the findings will guide future changes in the area of family food environments and contribute to recommendations promoting healthy eating within the home. 

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