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Parenting: Preventing Childhood Obesity | Parenting

Parenting: Preventing Childhood Obesity

Parenting: Preventing Childhood Obesity

It would be really easy for all of us to just throw in the towel when it comes to childhood obesity. The statistics are scary and overwhelming! Plunging our heads further into the sand seems almost the only thing left to do. As tempting as it may seem, we cannot give up. Parenting involves monitoring and contributing to our kids’ health both in the choices that we make for them AND in the choices we teach them to make for themselves.

So how do we do that? Two recently published articles can definitely point us in the right direction.

Firstly, rather than closing our eyes and ears to the research, we need to see the truth.  In an article, ‘Fat? Not my child.’ Parents don’t see kids as heavy, Nancy Hellmich reports on a study out of the University of Nebraska. The research shows that:

     51% of parents with overweight or obese children thought their kids were a normal weight.

    About 14% of parents with normal-weight kids considered their child underweight.

(Children are classified as overweight or obese based on where they fall on body mass index (BMI) growth charts: Those at the 85th to 95th percentile are considered overweight; those at or above the 95th percentile are considered obese.)

If parents are not even seeing obesity, how can we face it and help the kids? We need to clearly listen to our doctors and be observant when growth is mapped for us during our kids’ check-up visits. Secondly, in her nutrition column in the National Post, Jennifer Sygo highlights a second study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    The study followed children for nine years after they started kindergarten. Being overweight in kindergarten carried a particularly high risk: those kids were four times more likely than children of a normal weight to become obese over the course of the study.”

We encourage you to check out Jennifer’s article which includes helpful tips to start kids on a healthy path at a very young age. We offer one extra tip right here:

Don’t have your kids eat in front of the TV. We know that many parent use the TV to get food into picky eaters. This is really a double-edged sword:Parenting studies show  that subjects eating in front of the TV consume more calories and eat for a longer duration because the television distracts the viewer from attending to cues that they have had enough.

Here’s to healthy kids!

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