Researchers warn that parents could be storing up problems for their children by introducing them to alcohol too young and ordering takeaways too often.
Two universities found that one in six parents gives their children alcohol by the age of 14, when their body and brain are not yet fully developed.
Using data on 10,000 children from the Millennium Cohort Study, researchers from from University College London and Pennsylvania State University found that light or moderate-drinking parents were just as likely to let their children drink alcohol as heavy-drinking parents.
Prof Jennifer Maggs, lead study author, said: “Parents of socially advantaged children may believe that allowing children to drink will teach them responsible use or may in fact inoculate them against dangerous drinking.
“However, there is little research to support these ideas.”
Experts said that many parents may believe they are acting responsibly but that’s not backed up by research.
A team of researchers from St George’s, University of London, surveyed nearly 2,000 nine and 10-year-olds on their diets and found that one in four ate takeaways at least once a week.
This group had higher body fat composition from consuming too many calories, and lower levels of vitamins and minerals than children who ate food cooked at home.
When it comes to giving adolescents a taste of alcohol, well-educated parents of white children are the main culprits, research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests.