Curbing Obesity in Children
It is estimated that nearly 20% of children these days are obese. What’s particularly alarming about this is that this excess weight puts them at higher risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis, to name a few. This has many parents concerned; after all, who wants to see their kid suffer with one of these conditions in early adulthood? Past attempts to curb obesity in children has focused on getting children out of the house and exercising or eating healthy foods. For the most part, however, they have been largely ineffective. That left people looking for a different answer.
A recent article I read talked about programs that focus on parenting skills rather than the children’s behaviors. The program did not even address things like the child’s exercise habits, weight or eating habits. Instead, parents were taught how to limit television time, how to reinforce good behavior without using food, and how to discipline without physical punishment. By the age of eight, those who participated in the program had less than half the rate of obesity as those who were not in the program.
So, what do you think? Does the answer to curbing childhood obesity lie with the parents?
Katie Pullar, Senior Dietetic Student
Allen Anderson, RD