Today is a hot button issue – Childhood Obesity.
It breaks my heart to see the childhood obesity rates continue to rise. As I’ve mentioned before, I am an advocate for health at every size and that obesity itself isn’t always an issue.
Obesity is multifactorial and there is always a wide range of weights over a population. This is how the growth curves were created. The problem is that only 5% of kids should fall into that far extreme of obese (95th percentile). The rate has risen to over 20%.
We should all be fired up by this and we should ALL be working towards improving and ultimately stopping this trend.
This is a society problem. These children are innocent bystanders to the society we live within and childhood obesity sets children up to soooo many issues. This includes health issues as well as social and economical issues. But if a child is obese s/he NEVER deserves to be shamed. These children are at the mercy of the home, city, and complex food-obsessed world they live in. They are just doing what their instincts guide them to do – whether that is a coping strategy for eating with stress or loneliness or this is a kid just enjoying things that bring them joy (through a dopamine surge from various foods).
It is up to us as the adults in their lives to make a priority to put our own wishes aside and do what is best for the kids. This mean not buying the chips this week because if they are in the house we will all eat them. It means going for a walk after dinner even if we’d rather watch TV. It means holding our tongue and learning how to be better parents to help our children feel loved and accepted as they are, not shamed for how they are or how they look. It means choosing a family vacation that grows the bond in the family and promotes physical activity and balanced eating. It means getting help for our own unhealthy relationships with food (i.e. binging on ice cream after a stressful day).
I’ve heard the term – be the parent you want your children to become. THAT’S the money. If you see a problem within your child, look within yourself first and ask yourself –
why do you think they are doing that?
What does it trigger in you?
How may you have influenced it and what can you do to change the behavior?
We all know the general principles to being healthier. Doing them is what is hard.
A Swedish study looked at how to reduce weight in childhood obesity by working only with parents. This can reduce the shame and stigma a child may feel being singled out and having to go to a program for their weight. The bigger thing (in my opinion) is improving healthy habits, which will often improve weight, especially in young kids. The study group had 10 weekly 90 minute sessions that focused on positive parenting practices (encouragement and limit-setting strategies) to improve parent-child communication, providing advice on healthy food habits and physical activity as well as techniques to regulate emotional control.
What parent couldn’t benefit from that? I know I sure could! There was a statistically significant reduction in BMI. Read the public article about the study here – https://ift.tt/2GeAPFN or the full study here – https://ift.tt/2JBDyLA