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Parents are helping make their kids fat by bribing them with food, Deakin University's Professor David Crawford has told The Adelaide Advertiser's Susie O'Brien.
Professor Crawford and his team from CPAN, the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, have found a link between child obesity and parents using food as a reward for good behaviour.
There is also a link between having a higher BMI and children who have televisions in their rooms.
Researchers surveyed 491 mothers of children aged 4 to 12, from of victoria’s poorest urban and rural areas, looking at the influence of home and neighbourhood on children’s eating habits.
Professor Crawford, who led the research published in the latest British Journal of Nutrition, said parents needed to be mindful of how they provided food to their kids.
"Using food as a reward is not always a good idea, it’s not as if our kids are underfed," he said. "If you end up rewarding kids for good behaviour with fast food then you are setting up a trajectory for them that could lead to them being overweight.
"As the father of a five year-old, I know raising kids is tough and I am not telling parents what not to do but helping to identify the pitfalls."