New study links emotional feeding in young children to emotional eating later in life

A new study suggests that comforting children with food may be problematic.

— -- A new study suggests there may be a link between the common parenting practice known as emotional feeding, or using food as a means of comforting or rewarding children, and the development later in life of emotional eating, or the habit of eating to comfort or reward oneself.

A team of researchers based in Norway examined the eating habits of a group of 4-year-olds in Norway and followed up every two years until the subjects turned 10.

The scientists found that among the 801 children they examined, there was a "reciprocal relation between parental emotional feeding and child emotional eating," the study abstract reads.

Emotional feeding and emotional eating are not necessarily linked to hunger.

The association between emotional feeding in young children and emotional eating in school-age children was only weakly positive but remains statistically significant.