Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Childhood Obesity & Eating Together

Did you know that the childhood obesity trend in the year 2000 was 15%? And it was only 7% in 1980. A 2006 study even found increasing weight in infants! Is it any wonder that public health scholars predict that obesity will be the largest public health problem--replacing smoking--in the next 5 to 10 years?

Scholars believe that much of this problem can be tied to not having family meal times. Here are a few research connections:
  • Pre-teens and adolescents who eat with their family 4+ times a week are less likely to develop eating disorders
  • Eating with your family is associated with greater consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Home cooked meals have fewer calories and less fat content than meals served or bought in restaurants
  • Television viewing while eating is associated with consuming more food and obesity in children
Besides family meals, what else can we do for our children?
  • Introduce healthy foods
  • Control portion sizes
  • Have nutritious foods available at home
  • Discourage high-calorie, nutrient-poor beverages (such as Coke, etc.)
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Set an example
What else do you think we could do as parents to help our children in this area?

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