February 01, 2014
Parents are Responsible for Childhood Obesity
Its not surprising at all, the level of influence that parents have on their children's lives especially during the early stages of development. Although new research suggests that parents can be, in fact, responsible for childhood obesity. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researched dietary outcomes and the study was lead by Barry Popkin, the W.R Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at UNC's Gillings School of Public Health and was publsihed in the latest issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that although fast food did contribute to unhealthy children, it was dietary habits learned at home that had the long lasting impact. Those eating habits were composed of sugary drinks and processed foods as opposed to a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. From a survey of almost 4,500 children between ages 2-18, researchers found that health goes beyond where children eat. It becomes a matter of why they eat there and what eating habits are modeled by their families. The end outcome is simply that occasional fast food does not contribute to childhood obesity if, in the home, parents are modeling the correct eating habits. Children learn from a very early age how to eat and how to make meals and if the behavior that is modeled is to rely on fast food, there is a much higher chance that they will continue to do that in their adult lives. The Center for Disease Control has acknowledged that obesity in children has more than doubled in the past 30 years. There are many factors that are influencing childhood and adolescent obesity, ranging from; communities, to school, to the media, to entertainment industries. Families, however, seem to have the highest level of influence in setting the example for their children.