Impact of parenthood on eating behaviours: practical guidance for health professionals

Black and white image of young mother and baby son looking inside the fridge for something to eat

After 35 hours of interviews and 500 pages of discourses analyzed, ESR8-Andreia and her supervisor Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, published their first article with Edulia results: A downturn or a window of opportunity? How Danish and French parents perceive changes in healthy eating in the transition to parenthood The results of the study have been published in the journal Appetite and are available in the link: 

 The study is the result of in-depth interviews with parents in Denmark (16 parents) and France (14 parents). The cross-country analysis revealed that having a child might represent either a window of opportunity or a downturn in adults’ healthy eating patterns.  

Contrasting differences on perceived behaviour change across countries mainly appeared in terms of food ethics concern, meat consumption, cooking enjoyment, dietary diversity and sugar consumption. 

 The findings reveal an opportunity for effective strategies and public health messages targeting health behaviour change. These strategies should include individual self-efficacy and empowerment instead of “strict nutrition rules” that can increase stress levels leading to information avoidance. It is essential that information be supplemented by individualized support, addressing parental self-care, physiological changes, stress and negative emotions of early parenthood. 

Additionally, an INFOGRAPHIC with guidance for health professionals can be download here: Infographic for professionals for guiding new and becoming parents to healthy eating


Study: The authors acknowledge the support received by INRA researchers (Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique: French National Institute for Agricultural Research), who contributed with helpful comments on the study and the recruitment of participants in France trough the Chemosens platform.  

 Video: Illustrations by Morten Hellmann Petterson; video planning and production by Morten Hellmann Petterson and Hans Plauborg from AU Research Support and External Relations 



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