New research has found that dads are more likely to offer kids unhealthy food, which means moms are still in charge of mealtime in most households.

By Melissa Willets
July 20, 2017
Tania Kolinko/Shutterstock

In the "duh" news of the week, a new study finds dads are more likely to feed their kids unhealthy foods than moms. Because as we all know, dads are the fun parents!

The research team that needed to prove fathers aren't always focused on serving a square meal packed with veggies to their little ones published their findings in the journal Science Direct. The research looked at 42 moms, 14 dads, and 53 teens from more than 40 San Francisco middle- to upper-class families. Almost all family interviews revealed that dads' eating habits were not as healthy as moms'.

It's definitely true in our family. I'm the parent insisting on buying organic, and limiting treats in the house. My husband would be happy to nosh on French fries and offer ice cream after every meal.

Study author Priya Fielding-Singh admits she wasn't surprised by the overall results of the study, which showed dads do less housework than moms, according to Live Science. But this pattern does reveal some troubling results.

She notes that when dads are left to look after kids' meals, it is putting more stress on moms, because they know what's really going on. And it has nothing to do with tofu or broccoli. So, the cycle of moms stepping up to prepare meals continues.

"Even though some moms were unhappy with it, few saw that there could be an alternative," Fielding-Singh told Live Science, adding, "there was definitely a resignation" for moms that this is just the way it is, something I totally relate to. Because unless I nag my hubby to add carrot sticks and milk to the dinner plan, our kids will be eating mostly junk if I leave him in charge. It is indeed easier to just do it myself.

Fielding-Singh also points out that feeding the fam is something that has traditionally been left up to us mamas, whereas dads are seen as the sous chefs in the kitchen. She says her study confirms about dads, "They simply didn't see it as their responsibility to be making sure that kids were eating healthy — they saw it as Mom's responsibility."

So yes, modern families are changing, with more dads staying home, and more moms being the breadwinners. But I guess we haven't achieved total equality—something teens are noticing, according to the study, and can have implications on how they behave as adults.

It's worth noting not all families have the same dynamic. I'm sure plenty of dads care very much about healthy food. Right...?

Are this study's findings true in your house?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger/mom. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.


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