Dads’ healthy choices It’s tougher as kids age
DADS are sticklers for nutrition when their kids are first born but lose their resolve by the time they turn three, new research shows.
Dads being tired and stressed and trying to deal with fussy toddlers could be behind the nutrition lapse.
The study by Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) found many first-time fathers lost confidence in their ability to deliver a healthy diet as their child got older.
Lead researcher Adam Walsh said the findings followed earlier research which showed the eating habits of children as young as 18 months were strongly influenced by their dads.
“I think it’s really important that dads consider that they are always a role model from the word go,” he said.
“Up until relatively recently, dads have been left out of the equation because of traditional parenting roles, but now with more mums returning to work after having children, we’re seeing a slow evolution where dads might not be considered the primary carer but they are starting to contribute more and more.”
Luke Daley understands all too well why many fathers battle to feed their children healthy foods as they grow.
A father of two girls, aged seven months and four-and-ahalf years, Mr Daley works as a nutritionist but even he has seen his commitment to delivering a healthy diet to his kids wane over time.
Mr Daley, 33, said frequent children’s parties, typically catered for with sweet treats and junk food, also made it hard to maintain healthy diets for young kids as they grew.
Parents’ Voice spokeswoman Alice Pyror said many first time dads wanted to be perfect parents, but the reality of parenting proved much harder than they expected.
“It comes as no surprise to me that parents have idealised notions of feeding their child,” she said. “Before children arrive you have no concept of how little time you have to do everyday things, and the pressures that push you in the other direction.”
Melbourne dad Luke Daley, 33, knows all too well how much of a battle if can be to keep kids' diets healthy as the years go by. He is dad to two girls, Rosie aged 7 months and Willow 4