There may be a reason teenagers eat more burgers and fries than fruits and vegetables: their parents.

In a new policy brief released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, researchers found that adolescents are more likely to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day if their parents do. Contrarily, teens whose parents eat fast food or drink soda are more likely to do the same.

The cause of the deficit of healthy foods in teen diets has been attributed in part to the high concentration of fast food restaurants in certain cities and neighborhoods and other environmental factors.

The new research is a reminder, however, that "good dietary habits start at home," according to center research scientist Susan H. Babey, a co-author of the policy brief. "If parents are eating poorly, chances are their kids are too."

Teens whose parents drink soda every day are nearly 40 percent more likely to drink soda every day themselves than teens whose parents do not drink soda.

Teens whose parents eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily are 16 percent more likely to do the same than teens whose parents do not eat five servings a day.

Source: ScienceDaily

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090209125824.htm