New Parents Eat More, Exercise Less Than Their Childless Peers

Filed under: In The News, Diet & Fitness, Health

new parents eat more

Diet habits are worse among new parents. Credit: Getty Images


Babies add so much to their parents' lives -- love, compassion and, oh, yeah, extra pounds.

A new study out of the University of Minnesota finds exercise and diet habits are worse among new parents than young adults who don't have kids, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

"We need to find ways ... to support parents during this high-risk time," Jerica Berge, a lead author of the study, tells the newspaper, "so they can focus on their health as well as all of the demands of parenting."

Published today in the journal Pediatrics, the study finds new moms eat their veggies as often as their childless peers, but they take in more total calories, high-sugar drinks and saturated fats, according to the Star-Tribune.

"They were no different than non-moms on fruits and vegetable and whole grains," Berge tells the newspaper. "So my line of thought is they are trying to eat the right foods and trying to set the good example, but at the same time they are eating more of these fast foods like chicken nuggets because they take less time to cook."

As for logging gym time, young moms and dads spent nearly an hour less each week participating in vigorous exercise than other folks their age, the newspaper reports.

The extra calories and less frequent exercise added up to moms with higher average body mass indexes than other young women, according the Star-Tribune.

However, Berge tells the newspaper, the higher BMI could be a result of pregnancy weight gain.

The study compared answers from a survey involving 149 parents and 1,371 non-parents, the Star-Tribune reports, focusing on folks in their mid-20s with kids younger than 5.

Berge tells the newspaper if young, first-time parents can control their health during these early parenting years, it will help them and their children later in life.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.