Children Rewarded With Food Could Become Emotional Eaters

Parents who are in the habit of rewarding their children with food could be accidentally teaching them to deal with their issues through eating.

A new study from Aston University found that children who were rewarded with treats by their parents were prone to “emotionally eat” later in childhood. The children in the study were more likely to eat unhealthy snack foods when mildly stressed despite not being hungry.

“We often use [bad] food types as a treat or a reward, or even as a response to ease pain if children are upset,” said Dr. Claire Farrow, Lecturer in Psychology at the university. “The evidence from our initial research shows that in doing this, we may be teaching children to use these foods to cope with their different emotions, and in turn unintentionally teaching them to emotionally eat later in life.”

Eating patterns

While researchers admitted more studies need to be conducted to determine the long-term significance of eating patterns early in childhood, they warned that because people most often establish their relationships with food early in life that it’s important to teach kids how to manage their cravings.

“Often when people ‘emotionally eat’ they are using high calorie, high fat, energy-dense foods which are not conducive to health,” said Farrow. “Learning more about how we can teach children to manage their food intake in a healthy way can help us to develop best practice advice and guidelines for families and those involved in feeding children.”

Researchers concluded the study by stressing that emotional eating in adulthood has been linked to obesity and eating disorders.

Source: Aston University

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

CALL NOW FOR IMMEDIATE HELPCALL NOW FOR IMMEDIATE HELP800-776-3990Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?