Losing weight can be challenging – but keeping the weight off can be even more difficult, especially when it comes to children. Researchers have found that educating the parents of obese children is critical to their child’s weight loss, and then maintaining a healthy weight.
In a recent study on childhood obesity (February issue of Pediatrics), the parents were encouraged to be good role models for their children. They learned healthy lifestyle habits, including reading nutrition labels to select healthy foods and understand portion sizes. They were also taught how to set limits with TV time and computer/video game use.
Obese children whose parents attended lifestyle education classes for six months experienced a 10% drop in BMI, as well as a reduction in waist circumference. AND they kept the weight off for the entire length of the study (18 months).
EXERCISE: The parents of obese children were taught how to plan more active family activities such as going for hikes or riding bikes together.
DIET: At mealtimes, the parents served more fruits, vegetables and reduced-fat dairy products – and FEWER sweetened beverages, such as soda.
This recent study confirms that the most successful way to fight childhood obesity is by taking the family approach. Raising healthy children begins in the home with parents serving as good role models.
What are you doing to share healthy habits with your children?