New paper: Early parenthood can represent either a downturn or an opportunity for healthy eating behaviours: Study results with practical guidance for health professionals

Andreia Ferreira Moura (ESR8) recently published her first Edulia paper in the journal Appetite. The paper is entitled “A downturn or a window of opportunity? How Danish and French parents perceive changes in healthy eating in the transition to parenthood”. A summary of the paper is given below, for the full paper please visit our publication page.

In-depth interviews with parents in Denmark (16 parents) and France (14 parents) 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.

Researchers have called this double-faced impact of becoming a parent on healthy eating the “equalizing effect”. The “equalizing effect” means that individuals with prior low food-health orientation reported dietary improvements, while the contrary happened for people with a prior high food-health orientation.

Findings provide implications for health professionals involved in child birth and point to a need to consider individualized health support, addressing parental self-care, stress and negative emotions of early parenthood.

The proposition that low food-health oriented individuals become healthier reveals an opportunity for effective strategies and public health messages targeting health behaviours. These messages should include individual self-efficacy and empowerment instead of “strict nutrition rules” that can increase stress levels leading to information avoidance.

 

Based on the results, an infographic and a video has been developed for how to disseminate healthy eating to becoming parents. See also this post