A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

Curbing Kids’ Emotional Eating

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — You might have heard of emotional eating in adults, but what happens when kids eat to soothe their moods?

If food peps you up when you’re feeling down, you might be an emotional eater. Now, researchers have found that young kids can be emotional eaters, too. A study out of Norway found that school-aged children who are easily comforted by food had parents who were more likely to soothe them with food. Also, parents were more likely to emotionally feed their kids if their little ones were easily comforted by food.

When kids eat to soothe their feelings, the foods tend to be high in calories. Over time, this habit can lead to obesity. Scientists suggest talking with your child or offering a hug before resorting to food for comfort. Other things that may calm kids: teaching them breathing techniques, going for a walk, or listening to soothing music. Do what works, but try not to bring food into the mix.

The study’s lead author said it’s important to understand where emotional eating is coming from because that behavior can increase the risk not only of being overweight but of developing eating disorders.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Research cited from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28439888

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