Emotional eating starts in childhood, experts reveal
Food can be an extremely effective tool for calming young children. If they are bored on a long car journey, or fed up with being in the pushchair, many parents use snack foods to distract them for a little longer. Or if children are upset because they have hurt themselves or want something they cannot have, the offer of something sweet is often used to ‘make them feel better’.
But what are the effects of using food as a tool to deal with emotions like boredom or sadness?
Does it turn children into adults who cannot cope with being bored or upset without a sweet snack? There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that using food as a tool or as a reward regularly with children may be associated with a greater risk of emotional eating. It appears that somewhere between the ages of four and six, the tendency to emotionally overeat may increase in many children.