"A child learns ... food rules and how much to eat in their environment which is largely 'controlled' by parents."
Parents should play a central role in preventing childhood obesity, argues Michelle Murphy Zive in the following viewpoint. They can start by maintaining a healthy weight themselves, she explains, which will reduce the chance that they will have an obese child. In addition, adds Zive, parents should encourage their children to consume healthy foods and smaller portions, and to engage in physical activity. Zive is a registered dietitian with over fifteen years of experience working with schools in improving students' health.
As you read, consider the following questions:
1. In the author's opinion, what role does genetics play in childhood obesity?
2. According to Zive, how does a baby show that it is tuned in to its hunger-satiety mechanism?
3. Why does the author suggest giving infants vegetables and meat before sweet fruits?
You've probably heard the statistics. Childhood obesity has doubled over the last 20 years, affecting 10 million children. One in five children are either overweight or obese. Diseases once thought of as adult onset, including obesity, are now affecting children. For instance, with the obesity epidemic, there has been an alarming increase in Type 2 diabetes. Not only does obesity affect our children physically, but there is a negative impact on them socially and emotionally.
True or false? As parents, there's nothing you can do to prevent obesity, since it's based on genetics. Absolutely false. Yes, there is a propensity for overweight parents to have overweight kids. But the shocking increase in obesity has little to do with genetics and is influenced mainly by the environment, including the home.
Simply put, children are eating more calories than they are expending. The rise in the number of hours children sit in front of the television or computer, the increase in soda consumption, the lack of structured physical...