London, Dec 16: It is not willpower but parents, who should be held responsible for poor eating habits of people, a new study has revealed.
The study found that a person’s attitude towards food and exercise is largely set by the tender age of ten.
Newcastle University researcher Heather Brown asserted that healthy eating habits become engrained in childhood and that is the time for parents, schools and governments to intervene.
The study collected data on hundreds of pairs of American siblings. Some were adults who lived apart from each other, others were aged between 10 and 18 and still living in the family home.
The information was filtered to separate out the effects of influences that do not change over time, such as genetics and upbringing, and those that are more variable, such as friends that we keep.
The results suggested that the diet and exercise habits we instill in childhood remain with us throughout life.
“Parents are important role models. If they have an unhealthy lifestyle then their children are more likely to emulate their behaviour and continue these unhealthy habits into adulthood,” the Daily Mail quoted Brown as saying.
“This demonstrates the importance of early childhood interventions and prevention programmes to promote a healthier population,” she added.
The study has been published in the journal Obesity. (ANI)