Let them eat eggs!

Parents who don’t let their children indulge this Easter could face a long-term chocolate battle, Surrey research finds

Easter eggs: to eat or not to eat? That is the question on health-conscious parents’ lips at this time of year.

However University of Surrey researchers have found that rather than making their children healthier, parents who do not let them eat Easter eggs may be encouraging a long term obsession with chocolate and sweets.

86 parents were split in to two groups and asked to assess their children’s behaviour in the run up to the Easter weekend.  The first group restricted their child’s intake of Easter eggs and the second group allowed un-restricted access.

The study found that although the children who were restricted from eating Easter eggs ended up eating slightly less, they were far more pre-occupied with chocolate and sweet foods than children who were allowed free rein to eat what they liked.

Professor Jane Ogden who led the study comments: “In terms of parenting practice, the results indicate that in the short term restricting ‘bad’ foods is an effective means to promote healthier eating habits.  But by restricting access you may encourage a preoccupation with unhealthy foods which in the long term could encourage the very behavior you are trying to prevent.”

Professor Jane Ogden offers the following advice: “Easter can be a difficult time for parents who want their child to eat healthily.   If you want your child to eat less at this time of year then restrict unhealthy foods.  If you want your child to be less preoccupied with trying to eat unhealthy foods then let them have it and get it over and done with!   But at other times of the year the best approach is simply not to bring unhealthy foods into the home.  If it’s not there your child cannot pester you for it!”

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