Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aw, Mom . . .

There are a lot of scary things in the world that most of us feel powerless to do anything about. So, when presented with a critical problem we each have the power to change, why don’t we?

Childhood obesity is high on everyone’s list of important issues that must first be faced and then reversed. There’s a lot of blame to go around, and much of it is misplaced. But, when nearly one out of every three American children is obese or overweight it’s time for those who can do something about it to step up. Mom . . . Dad? Are you listening?

If you want your kids to be healthy, and grow up to be healthy adults, the single most important thing you can do is lead the way by being a healthy role model. Consider that:

  • If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that the children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese. – American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • The single factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents. –Stanford University of Medicine researchers.
  • Recent market research shows that when the adult female caregiver eats healthfully, the majority of kids in the household do so as well.Eating Well Magazine, June 2010

According to a new survey conducted by national non-profit group Healthy Women, only 28 percent of women think they can do anything about childhood obesity. Guess what? Mom’s BMI (body mass index) has a greater impact on a child at every age than Dad’s. (Check your BMI here.) It may be unfair that it falls on Mom, but there’s a scientific reason. Mothers are viewed more as role models and are the “gatekeepers” of the food. They are also primarily responsible for planning, cooking, serving and shopping for most of the family meals.

And it starts before birth . . . the Healthy Women survey found that only 11 percent of women realize that being obese during the first trimester of pregnancy more than doubles the child’s risk of becoming obese. Research from Harvard Medical School shows that the more weight a woman gains during pregnancy, the greater the child’s chances are of being overweight by age three. Today, one in five women is obese at the time of conception.

It’s a cycle, and going forward with the same old/ same old isn’t the answer. But there is a solution. Each of us is the solution. CLICK HERE for a short presentation about what you can do to help reverse childhood obesity.

What can you do to reverse the cycle? Do you have ideas to share? We can all use them.

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