Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Childhood Obesity Dilemma--How Something So Simple Got So Complicated
Richard Besser MD Good Morning America

What Dr Besser described is exactly what my conversations with the parents of overweight kids are like as a registered dietitian at a public health clinic. I think parents don't understand how powerful their actions are in establishing healthy habits for their kids. Kids learn from a very early age from what they observe. And if they observe mom and dad with a regular diet of chips, sodas, etc. this becomes the "norm." Parents need to take back the gatekeeper role in the house. Don't want your kid to drink soda-- don't buy it! Want to drink it yourself--do it after they're asleep.

At the same time, I think it's important to teach kids that all foods can fit in moderation. At a birthday party, we might splurge on cake, soda and some pizza, but we don't do it every day. While tempting, establishing a "no sugar in the house" rule often backfires. The kid who is not allowed an occasional sweet with gulp down soda by the glassfulll when at his friend's house. (I've seen that one firsthand!) They won't learn moderation--which after all is the key to a balanced life.

My advice to parents--let your kids catch you "being good"--setting a good example for healthy living. Eat an apple for a snack. Push away from the table and say you're full. Play ball outside or take your kid to the park. Time spent outside is directly related to calories burned, so reserve some outside play time for the family

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