ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) –  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, an increasing number of children are indulging in unhealthy foods, leading to a growing epidemic of childhood obesity.

The CDC has also found that people who are obese early in life are at greater risk of developing issues such as high blood pressure, breathing issues such as asthma, liver disease, and even psychological problems.

So how can parents help their children enjoy healthier meals, and in doing so, help them lead healthier lives? A new study suggests that good eating habits start in the womb.

Researchers at the Monell Center in Philadelphia have discovered that babies and children were far more likely to eat the sort of foods their mothers ate during pregnancy and breast-feeding than they were to adapt to new eating habits.

Those involved with the study reportedly worked with 46 children who were 6 months to 1 year old. During the study, each child was offered carrot-flavored cereal, to see which babies enjoyed it, and which did not. Mothers who consumed carrot juice had children who ate double the amount of carrot-flavored cereals of children who did not experience the beverage in utero, the website Catholic Online is reporting about the study’s findings.

“The research clearly shows that if mothers eat a lot of fruit during lactation and pregnancy, then their child will be much more open to eating fruit during weaning,” researcher Dr. Julie Mennella was quoted as saying. “The same goes with vegetables.”

Mennella further explained that children are naturally more attracted to sweet or salty tastes.

“[B]ut [they] may not be initially attracted to bitter foods such as green vegetables,” she added. “They have to be exposed to fruit and vegetables if they are to learn to accept and like these flavors.”

Catholic Online learned that Mennella presented the study at the annual conference for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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