Parents

Parents as Role Models in Fighting Obesity

CJ Westerberg, November 1, 2011 10:57 AM

2Botero.jpg

Botero painting, Size dimension altered to fit format

"Evidence supports that school and home
have to be consistent partners
to have any meaningful impact on this epidemic
."

Parents as Role Models in Fighting Obesity

by C.J. Westerberg

Some schools are taking childhood obesity epidemic to task by incorporating healthier
foods on the lunch menu, among other initiatives.
However, the role modeling of better eating and exercise habits starts at home:

About a third of children and adolescents in the United States weigh too much. With so many overweight children, some experts worry that the majority of this generation will be overweight or obese as adults.
Now, a study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association finds that heavy teens often gain a lot more weight in their 20s. Half of obese adolescent girls and a third of obese teen boys become morbidly obese (80 to 100 pounds overweight) by their early 30s, the research shows.
"This new study should be a call to action to parents to look in their pantry and clean out all the junk food . . ."

Recommended steps:  Kids and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous physicalBotero.jpg activity each day. That includes running, biking, swimming, walking, jumping rope, skipping, playing basketball or soccer and doing muscle-strengthening activities such as tug of war, modified sit-ups and push-ups.

Other tips for parents include eating together as a family, limiting junk food snacking and involving kids in the preparation of healthy meals.
However, there is another aspect to the obesity epidemic: those children who come from disadvantaged homes with no choice about food ("insecure food" homes). In fact, these kids are often hungry where fast, unhealthy cheap food becomes the default.   See more on this topic in today's related post with Jeff Bridges on MSNBC's Morning Joe talking about the "No Kid Hungry" program for schools, a "huge delivery system" for food.  Bridges explains how obesity is the flip result of the hunger issue for these students.

We hear often from parents venting their frustration about how schools undermine their healthy lifestyle agenda at home. This is a real travesty considering how the research supports how learning is positively affected by exercise and healthy eating. Evidence supports that school and home have to be consistent partners to have any meaningful impact on this epidemic.

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