Children’s lipid profiles and eating habits improved during an 8-year span after mothers were educated about healthy eating, according to study results published online.
Marie Laura da Costa Louzada, MS, of the graduate program of health sciences at the Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre in Brazil, and colleagues randomly assigned 200 Brazilian mothers to an intervention group that received counseling on breast-feeding and complementary feeding and 300 mothers to a control group between October 2001 and June 2002. Children of these mothers were full-term infants and weighed at least 2,500 g at birth. Field workers visited mothers in the intervention group 10 times during the first year of the children’s lives to educate mothers. After the educational visits, children’s dietary and growth data were recorded by masked field workers when the children were aged 12 to 16 months, 3 to 4 years and 7 to 8 years. Lipid profiles were measured for those aged 3 to 4 years and 7 to 8 years.
Although researchers found a reduction in the consumption of energy-dense foods for children of mothers in the intervention group, at 3 to 4 years of age, there was no difference in lipid profile. At 7 to 8 years of age, Louzada and colleagues reported that high-density lipoprotein levels were 0.11 mmol/L higher, and triglycerides concentration was 0.13 mmol/L lower in intervention children, but only among the girls. There was no difference in obesity rates between groups.
“The findings support the assumption that providing counseling to mothers can modify their choices regarding the foods they offer to their children. Although there are numerous factors linked to eating behavior (including income, food costs and advertising), mounting evidence demonstrates that maternal attitudes and beliefs have a direct effect on a child’s food intake,” the researchers said.
Disclosure: Dr. Louzada reports no relevant financial disclosures.