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Low Moods Trigger Unhealthy Food Choices In Children, Study Finds

    news 31 July featured

    Psychology News

    Researchers at the research group, Elsevier, studied how emotions influence children’s food choices. The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

    The Study

    The researchers surveyed 195 ethnically diverse children studying in the third to sixth grades. The participants used a mobile phone app and were contacted seven times daily to answer questions. They were asked questions about their emotions (stress, anger, and sadness) and unhealthy eating choices (fried foods, sweets, and sugary beverages).

    The Findings

    The results revealed that emotional factors influencing children’s food choices are also linked to childhood obesity. It was found that negative moods positively influence fatty food intake and trigger unhealthy eating in children. Especially over weekends, children’s unhealthy food choices increase, thanks to their mood fluctuations.

    Towards Interventions

    The researchers recommended incorporating mood and emotion-based components into interventions that can improve dietary outcomes, eating behaviors, and choices of healthy food for kids.

    One of the lead researchers, Christine Hotaru Naya, elaborated: “[This study] is a good start on [the] path to recognizing how to approach food choices with a person’s mood and emotions in mind. We could improve our current interventions to be individually tailored to the environmental, social, emotional, and cognitive contexts in which unhealthy eating occurs.

    To Know More You May Refer To

    Naya, C. H., Chu, D., Wang, W. L., Nicolo, M., Dunton, G. F., & Mason, T. B. (2022). Children’s Daily Negative Affect Patterns and Food Consumption on Weekends: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Study. Journal of nutrition education and behavior54(7), 600–609. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.02.007