Are Parents To Blame For Childhood Obesity? Take Poll.
Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 19, 2009
Who is to blame for childhood obesity? There certainly seems to be a lot of blame to go around. What do you think? Are the parents to blame? Take this poll and let me know…
Katherine Berry from Pajamas Media wrote…
It’s not something we, as parents, like to hear and yet it’s precisely what we need to realize: if our children are fat, the chances are we bear a big load of the blame. Kids aren’t the ones pulling the minivan into the drive-through lane at McDonald’s for dinner between dance lessons and karate practice. Again. They aren’t the ones zipping past the produce aisle and dried beans in favor of high-fat, calorie-dense convenience meals that promise to be ready after five minutes or less in the microwave. They don’t keep files crammed with the take-out menus for nearby restaurants, nor program the phone number of the pizza joint on their cell phones. Parents do.
Miriam Stoppard of Dear Mariam wrote…
If a child is obese at the age of two, there’s no one to blame but the parents.
Traditionally toddlers have the healthiest lifestyles – they naturally run around all the time, burning up calories.
So it’s difficult to imagine what these children’s parents have been doing to let them get so fat. If you’re busy and stressed and feel guilty about not spending enough quality time with your child, you’re probably looking for quick and easy ways to make it up to them.
Is fast-food to blame? Or is it the parent who provides the fast-food to blame?
If my child doesn’t eat well it’s because I as his mother and provider of nourishment have in some way failed to bring good foods to him or convince him to eat those good foods.
It’s bullshit to say that “…America’s chain restaurants have set parents up to fail.” God that attitude sickens me.
What about those unhealthy school lunches?
From Childhood Obesity: A Threat To Our Public Health…
School systems have instituted nutrition and exercise programs with some success. For example, a research group, The Healthier Options for Public Schools, followed 3700 students in a Florida county over 2 years. School districts instituted an intervention program in 4 schools and the results were measured against two schools that did not have a program. The intervention program included dietary changes, increased exercise and nutrition awareness. There were dramatic changes in the kids who had intervention, however, when those students returned from summer vacation, most had reverted back to their old habits.
There is also evidence that the economy plays a role – Childhood Obesity: Why Are More Poor Children Overweight?
What do you think? Take the above poll and let me know what you think about who is to blame for childhood obesity.
Personally, I think there is enough blame to go around, but the best thing to do is focus on ways to solve the problem.
What can parents do to help children make healthier food choices?
- Healthy Choices: Stock the fridge with a lot of healthy food and snacks, such as whole-grain choices, fresh produce and milk. Get rid of the junk food and soda.
- Behavioral changes help: Serving water or milk at dinner instead of soda, sitting at a table instead of around the T.V., eating dinner at a regular time—these changes are small but can break old habits and make a real difference. Make small decisions to increase the activity in your day.
- Beware of the TV: studies have shown that TV time directly correlates with snacking. Instead, encourage your child to be active, or work on a project that engages his or her hands so they are less likely to snack.
- Slow down the consumption: Encourage your child to eat slowly and engage them in discussion during mealtime. Serve them smaller portions, and if they are old enough, don’t cut their food for them.
- Food as nutrition, not reward: Don’t make food a source of reward or punishment. Allow your child to stop eating when they are no longer hungry and never force them to finish their plate.
- Engage them in physical activity outside of the home: Enroll your child in a physical activity they might enjoy, such as gymnastics, dance or martial arts. Encourage him to join a school team or play basketball with his friends.
- Be a good role model: Create a healthy lifestyle, not just a goal for your child’s weight. There are old habits to break and good habits to establish- acting as a role model for your child is the most effective way to help him or her make changes that last.
From Misty Humphrey at Healthy Transitions…
Often, I say to my adult children “I wish I knew then what I know now”. Our lives would be very different. I would advise that parents involve their children in the healthy choices. A meal always tastes better when the child is involved in the preparation. Make sure the fruit bowl is always full. Take control as a parent over the media hype. Do not give in. I would also advice parents to start with the elimination of “hydrogenated oils” and “high fructose corn syrup” from any products they purchase. Make sure your child starts their day with a nutritious breakfast that would exclude modern breakfast cereals. We drink green smoothies daily and every child loves a smoothie. Cabbage and spinach are the easiest veggies to mask and this can sustain a child with clearer thinking and brain function. In sharing with your child the importance of healthy choices and the affect on their bodies, we can reverse this preventive epidemic we call obesity.
Healthier Kids – Moving Beyond Pizza and Hot Dogs
Big Fat Deal – Poor, Obese Children Not Eating Enough
Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan