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Parents of young children lead an unhealthy lifestyle, according to recent research. Despite the notion that parents of toddlers spend their whole lives running after the little ones trying to catch them and keep them out of trouble, they are, in fact, not exercising enough.
The study has shown that parents of toddlers eat less healthily than their childless counterparts. Women with children drink more sugary drinks and eat fattier foods according to scientists and they are less active than women of a similar age who don't have children.
This is partly because they tend to choose the quick, less healthy option when it comes to eating because they simply don't have the time or energy to do any different, and they miss out on exercise because of being too tired, busy or having no childcare.
The research was undertaken at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Pediatrics. The study was carried out to help identify whether parents of young children are at risk and whether they would benefit from advice on diet, exercise and healthy living.
The study looked at the lives of 1,500 adults aged around 25, many of whom were parents with children under five. On average the mothers consumed nearly 400 calories each day more than their childless counterparts. In order to prevent weight gain they should be exercising even more (walking about 3 miles a day) to counter balance. However, in reality they were exercising less than 2 hours a week at a moderate pace.
There are limitations to the findings:
- The study did not show how many women had just had their babies and therefore had retained their baby/pregnancy weight.
- There was no information on single parents and the effect of having just one parent in the home.
- There was no information on the psychological health of the women who if suffering from depression may have experienced odd eating habits etc.
These are interesting findings and we would welcome more information on how we should look after ourselves after childbirth.