Moms Care More About Their Healthy Weight Goals than Their Children’s, Study Finds

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Given the rate of child obesity it would seem that a mother’s first and foremost concern would be that of her child and ensuring a healthy diet at home. It’s not. In a study of 1,000 women, 36 percent of them said that they are regularly concerned about childhood obesity in their home. However, 70 percent are worried about their own healthy weight goals. That’s twice as many women that are concerned about their own healthy weight goals than their children’s.

Conducted by Womensforum.com, the study holds that while women might be worried about their own weight in the home, when it comes to their supermarket they’re still making shopping choices based around health and nutrition, which can make those first numbers a little misleading.

While for themselves, these women may be looking at diet products, at the grocery store they are more focused on a general healthy diet for their family at large. “It may appear surprising that moms seem to be more concerned about their own weight rather than their children’s, but if you look at what they actually buy at the supermarket, it becomes clear that they view health and nutrition differently from dieting and calorie-cutting,” said Andrea Metcalf, of Womensforum.com.

So what are they looking for? While 68 percent of the women in the study said they look for locally sourced/manufactured foods, 60 percent also said that they look for fat-free or low-fat items. But does this constitute a healthy diet?

We’ve known for quite some time now that low-fat food products do much more harm than good, and yet we’re still buying them. Why? Because food marketing tells us that we should.

In fact, the findings of the study were specifically directed at food marketers. “Marketers need to embrace these priorities and understand critical nuances in the way that moms perceive and balance specific weight worries with concerns centered on the broader subject of health,” said Mark Kaufman, founder and CEO, Womensforum.com.

As AdWeek pointed out in reference to the statistics on women being concerned about their own weight, “Diet food marketers should find those stats particularly interesting, and they should probably ramp up on digital marketing.”

In one way, women being concerned about their own healthy weight goals more than their children’s is a good thing: we certainly don’t need children on low-fat diet foods. But it is an indicator of the large societal problem at hand: we are often more focused on food products that will be the magic healthy diet solution instead of just focusing on all around healthy diets instead.

According to the study, one in five women turns to the internet to review news and information about healthy eating and nutrition for their children. That’s a good thing; the more education the better.

But if we want to ensure that kids are eating well, we have to make sure that we’re focused on all around healthy lifestyles, and not just food products that are marketed in a savvy way. And we also have to make sure healthy eating is a family issue, not just a women’s issue.

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Image: Christian Cable

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a writer who focuses on food, travel and culture. Taking a holistic approach to eating, she believes in good food, from good places, with good people. She runs the website Foodie Underground and is the author of The Culinary Cyclist: A Cookbook and Companion for the Good Life.