Today technology plays a vital role in every aspect of our lives, even your child’s eating habits and as parents we may have a big role in it.
In this era of technology, it is a common sight to find kids as young as 3-4 years glued to the screen. However, this could affect their eating habits and cause nutrition-related problems in their growing up years.
In May 2020, researchers at the University of Illinois carried a study titled ‘Cognitive Distraction at Mealtime Decreases Amount Consumed in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Crossover Exploratory Study’. The research revealed that using technology during mealtime may lead to a decrease in the amount of food a person or child eats.
According to the researchers, it’s a misnomer that distracting kids during mealtime may make them eat more. On the contrary, the child actually ends up eating lesser food. This may lead to a lot of nutritional deficiencies amongst children and can also cause a lot of health problems, especially, a weak immune system.
Another study found that 5 and 6-year-old kids’ screen-time is linked with low fruit and vegetable consumption. It also leads to a high intake of unhealthy snacks such as chips, chocolates, and biscuits. This study was conducted in 2018 and titled, ‘Clustering and Correlates of Screen-time and Eating Behaviours Among Young Children’. The paper was written by Dr. Emma Haycraft and four other researchers.
TV commercials promote a lot of unhealthy snacks, sweet sodas, fast-food meals, and sugary breakfast foods that generate more such cravings amongst children. Children, therefore, love binging on unhealthy processed food during their screen time. Kids are so engrossed in their devices that a lot of them do not take part in any physical activity. This can be a cause of various problems such as obesity and weight gain in the later years.
When glued to a screen, children are generally lost in their own little world, they do not even chew the food properly. They are so distracted by the screen that nothing else is paid attention to. This can cause digestive problems as the body may not produce enough enzymes needed to fully break down food. This may also lead to problems such as skin problems, irritability, cramps, nausea, headaches and malnutrition among others. In some cases, your children may also choke on their food.
Parents must hence, make sure that their kids’ screen time is strictly monitored and avoid combining their meal time with a gadget. Give your child maximum attention and use your meal times as a healthy way to bond and connect with each other.