Childhood obesity: What’s Parenting Got to Do With It?newby.17 | March 17, 2010
Childhood obesity has been in the news a lot recently, as First Lady Michelle Obama takes it on as her signature issue. This is indeed a problem as we have seen a steady rise over the past years. Consider these stats from the Center for Disease Control:
“Data from NHANES surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2006) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%”
There are many possible avenues to consider when we wonder how we got here, but as we consider reversing this trend, let’s start with simple steps at home. As a family life expert, I am especially interested in the link between parenting and childhood obesity. According to a new study by researchers at Ohio State University and Temple University, household routines are a key aspect of reducing obesity.
The study found that in household of preschoolers, children who:
- ate the evening meal as a family,
- got adequate sleep (10 1/2 hours)
- and had less than 2 hours of TV time on weekdays,
had a 40% lower prevelance of childhood obesity!
One of the researchers states, “I imagine people are going to want to know which of the routines is most important: Is it limited TV, is it dinner, is it adequate sleep? And what this suggests is that you can’t point to any one of these routines. Each one appears to be associated with a lower risk of obesity, and having more of these routines appears to lower the risk further,” Anderson said.
While nutrition information may seem often confusing and overwhelming, this shows that there are other aspects of the home that are critical to a healthy lifestyle. Think about simple ways that you can incorporate these routines into your family today! Click here to read more about this study, or it can be found in the March 2010 issue of the journal Pediatrics.