3 Habits that Lead to Overweight Kids

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I first heard those words uttered years ago, by a mother of six. Her children wanted an afternoon snack. They wanted a cookie, a piece of pie, or any other fun sweet mom happened to have around. Her response, “I’m only offering fruit right now.” So some of the kids opted to take a pass, the ones who were truly hungry had a piece of fruit. This mom knew that she was in charge of helping her children make good choices, and no amount of begging or whining got her to change her mind.

iSpecialist Dr. Walt Larimore says moms need to know the facts about what eating habits hurt our kids.

1. Eating Food that’s Prepared Away from Home

The Time “Healthland” blog reported, “In the first study to examine the relationship between where food is prepared and increased calorie consumption, researchers report that eating commercially made food can lead children to take in more calories than if they had eaten similar meals at home.”

In other words, foods prepared AWAY from home, including:

  • fast food eaten at home and
  • store-prepared food eaten away from home, are BOTH fueling the childhood obesity epidemic.

2. Not Eating Meals as a Family

A study in the journal Pediatrics finds that children and adolescents who share meals with their families at least three times per week are less likely to be overweight, eat unhealthy foods, or be at risk for eating disorders.”

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I wrote, “Children from families who eat together have better nutrient intake because they eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more milk. They also eat fewer fried foods and drink less soda. Research has also found that children who eat with their families make better food choices when they don’t eat at home and are more likely to eat breakfast.”

3. Having an Irregular Sleep Schedule

If you hate enforcing bedtime with your kids, here’s another good reason why you should. A study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that younger children who get more regular sleep are less likely to be obese.

The CNN “The Chart” blog reported that the investigators “found that children who had regular sleep schedules and slept the recommended number of hours per night had the least risk of being obese or having unhealthy blood markers,” whereas “children who slept the least and had irregular sleep schedules had more than a fourfold increase in the risk of being obese and having unhealthy blood markers that indicate the beginning of other conditions.”

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