with your kids about Obesity by Not talking about
with your kids about Obesity by Not talking about it
The main thing is to avoid mentioning weight, or size, or obesity, or anything that could suggest there is some stigmatizing going on.
Children just starting school are usually strongly motivated to shine in that setting. Before they get old enough to find out that enjoying their studies isnt considered cool, they have a competitive streak. So parents can take advantage of that tendency, by planting the idea that a healthy body supports a healthy brain, which is smarter and can do better in school.
Of course, when a child gets a little older, if sports become a passion, then the parents job becomes easier. Its not difficult to demonstrate the connection between general, overall health and the ability to run bases or balance on a beam
While kids dont care about the health risks associated with being overweight, parents do.
Real trouble can start when adult concerns about sensible health practices are misconstrued by kids, and this is all too possible. If a child seems to be heading down the obesity road, and a parent starts talking about diabetes and dialysis, or high blood pressure and needing to take medication, a kid who already has emotional problems can hear that as, Youd better not get sick because we dont want to waste money on your hospital bills. Needless to say, this would not be helpful, but it may be the interpretation a child makes.
We humans are run by our brains, and a lot of our brains are not in perfect working order, and nowhere does this show up more clearly than in parent-child relationships. So while the potential pitfalls are many, learning to talk with kids about obesity (by not talking about obesity) is a skill worth cultivating.
Obesity appears to result from eating for reasons other than hunger, for simple pleasure and as a coping mechanism for relief from sadness, stress, anxiety, and boredom. Parents enable this in their kids by using food to ease distress from an early age.
In 2011, Oregon had the lowest obesity rate in the nation. However, Oregon ranked 35th in people who were overweight. Since 77% of obese children become obese adults, the health concerns with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and cancer become greater.
Obesity appears to result from eating for reasons other than hunger, for simple pleasure and as a coping mechanism for relief from sadness, stress, anxiety, and boredom. Parents enable this in their kids by using food to ease distress from an early age (Give him a bottle if he cries) and as treats to give and buy love from the child (Cool Whip commercial slogan Give the Cool Whip, get the love).
The importance of eating at certain times and, more crucially, of not eating at other times. The study subjects mice, not humans, but hopes are high that, as in many other laboratory results, rodents and people share the basic mechanism. If a mouses food consumption is limited to a window of between 9 and 12 hours, that mouse will be slimmer than its counterpart who is allowed to snack at any point in the day or night even if they take in the same number of calories.
Research has also shown that allowing kids to eat only during a specified eight-hour period reversed obesity and diabetes. Try it out at home, on yourself and your kids.
1. The choice cannot be if children
are going to be active; it must be how
The research has also shown that allowing the mice to eat only during a specified eight-hour period reversed obesity and diabetes.
Yes, that word is reversed. Needless to say, this line of inquiry seems well worth pursuing. And you dont need a laboratory to do it. Try it out at home, on yourself and your kids.
Things not to do:
1. Dont use food as a bribe to
elicit good behavior
We humans are run by our brains, and a lot of our brains are not in perfect working order. Nowhere does this show up more clearly than in parent-child relationships. So, while the potential pitfalls are many, learning to talk with kids about obesity (by not talking about obesity) is a skill worth cultivating.
A slightly more ambitious parent might decide to make a parent/child project out of creating a festival booth to feature delicious low-calorie snacks, and give away the recipes for other families to try. A truly audacious parent might propose the radical idea of restructuring the whole event so as not to include food at all.
Solutions call for originality,
outside the box thinking, and a willingness to
abandon old habits and start new ones.
Childrens built environments affect their health. Children living within a quarter mile of a convenience store are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese as children living further away from such stores. Similarly, children living within a half mile of a large park are less than half as likely to be overweight or obese than those who do not. In 2010, only three-quarters (76%) of California high schools provided all students with the opportunity to participate in physical activities such as sports or clubs. And only 15% of California high schools always offer fruit and non-fried vegetable options in vending machines, school stores, canteens or snack bars.
Research shows that advertising has a
powerful influence on the food preferences of children, ages
2 to 11, and that less than 1% of television food and
beverage advertising to children is for healthy products.
Moreover, the amount of childrens television viewing
is associated with their caloric intake. During weekends, 3
out of 4 California children (75%) spend at least 2 hours a
day watching TV or playingvideo games.
Hundreds of school sites in California will benefit from more than $12.5 million in new state and federal grants to provide nutritious food to students.14 These grants provide eligible elementary schools with funding to offer students a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks during the school day. Other grants will provide funding to start or expand the School Breakfast Program for K-12 students.
Despite the federal governments
failing to issue voluntary nutritional guidelines for food
and beverage companies marketing to children, individual
media companies have the opportunity to improve their own
standards. For example, Disney established its own company
nutrition standard to determine which food and beverage
products are advertised, promoted or sponsored on the Disney
Channel, Disney Junior, Disney.com and on Saturday morning
programming for kids on ABC-owned stations. Additionally,
Sesame Workshop recently announced plans to offer use of
their characters including Big Bird and Elmo free of charge
to supermarkets, produce companies and farmers to help
promote fruits and vegetables.
Percent of Overweight Teens Dont See a Problem
Children and teenagers not acknowledging, or even being aware that they need to lose weight is actually a big problem. About.com expert Dr. David Katz, who is also the editor-in-chief of the journal "Childhood Obesity" and founder of Yale University's Prevention Research Center, thinks he might have the right answer.
Two recent reports indicate that the problem of epidemic childhood obesity is much compounded by associated obliviousness. I will hazard a neologism: oblivobesity. Houston, we have a problem. And Hartford. And every place in between.
The first report was issued by the CDC on July 23, 2015. The study used a representative sample of children and adolescents in the U.S. to compare actual weight and body-mass-index, with perceptions of weight.
The principal finding of note was that more than 80% of overweight boys and 70% of overweight girls misperceived their weight as normal. Also of note, the frequency of such misperception declined as socioeconomic status rose, indicating that families with more resources were more likely to have heightened awareness of healthy weight.
A related paper followed about a week later, and was even more worrisome. This study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, also compared actual and perceived weight in a nationally representative cohort of children and adolescents. The researchers then went on to look at the correlation of these measures with attempted weight loss.
As in the earlier paper, a high percentage of kids- and their parents- underestimated their weight. This group was roughly 3 times less likely to attempt weight loss than overweight kids who accurately assessed their weight. But that wasnt the truly disturbing finding.
Among the relatively small percentage of kids who OVERestimated their weight, the rate of attempted weight loss was more than 9 times higher than among kids who perceived their weight status accurately.
This is an alarmingly high rate of dieting among kids who have no need to lose weight in the first place.
Above all, this study highlights the perils of a societal preoccupation with weight, rather than a focus on health and the lifestyle factors that support it. Eating well and being active are important regardless of weight, because they promote health. Weight is merely one among many measures that suggest something about overall health- albeit an important one.
The high rate of dieting among children who over-estimated their weight is of real concern. This behavioral pattern suggests impaired body image perception, and vulnerability to eating disorders. The more common error of under-estimating weight and its effect on lowering the likelihood of weight control efforts is also of concern.
These opposing problems are really two sides of the same coin, the fixation on weight rather than health. In general, dieting is ill-advised both for overweight children and those misperceiving their weight as high when it isn't. Eating well and being active are advisable for both groups- and all other children, too.
We do need to raise awareness about the importance of childhood obesity- but we need to emphasize that what really matters is health, not some number of pounds. If a devotion to healthful behaviors were the norm in our culture, we would not look on as weight perception- accurate or otherwise- talked our children into dieting they do not need, or out of weight control efforts they do.
The weight of our children matters for
reasons that are more than skin deep. Childhood obesity is
on the causal pathway to a whole array of scourges that
siphon years from the lives of our children, and life from
their years- fatty liver disease the most recent item to
make that dubious marquee. Knowledge may not reliably be
power, but oblivion is unfailingly disempowering. We face a
unique challenge where widespread obesity, and prevailing
obliviousness, converge. We must work to overcome that. Even
as we do, we must take precautions to cultivate a focus on
health as the ends, and healthful living as the means, so
that obliviousness to weight is not replaced by obsession
with it. Neither is healthy.