Toronto: A child's diet is likely to be decided by the education of the young one's parents, says a new study.
Researchers from University of British Columbia have found that Vancouver school children whose parents completed some post-secondary education were 85 percent more likely to eat vegetables during the school week than those with parents who completed high school or less.
Children whose parents graduated from college or university were 67 percent less likely to consume sugary drinks.
"We can only speculate on the reasons for the disparities. Higher priced products, like vegetables, may not be the food that gets packed first for vulnerable families that need to make tough choices about school lunches," explained Jennifer Black, a food, nutrition and health professor at University of British Columbia.
The study revealed that majority of children, regardless of socioeconomic status, do not consume enough low-fat milk or whole grains on school days, opting instead for packaged snacks like potato chips or fast-food items like French fries - high in sodium and saturated fat.
The study surveyed nearly 1,000 students in grades five to eight - asking them to report their daily food consumption at school or while travelling to and from school.
Less than half of the kids reported consuming fruit, vegetables, whole grains or low-fat milk.
Seventeen percent reported eating fast food, 20 percent reported eating packaged snacks and 31 percent reported drinking sugary drinks daily.
Fifteen percent of the students reported going hungry.
"Our study provides new insight on what kids are eating, or not eating. Overall, things are not looking so good. More work is needed to address the dietary needs of children when they go off to school," concluded co-author Naseam Ahmadi.