Finding the motivation to pursue a healthy weight can be difficult sometimes. But a new study out of Stanford University may be able to add an increased sense of urgency and purpose, particularly for parents: Do it for the kids!
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. While many factors have contributed to this, including increased access to fast foods and higher birth weight, more evidence shows that the factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents.
“The findings of this study suggest that at-risk children may be identifiable in the first few years of life,” says W. Stewart Agras, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, whose team assessed both established and hypothesized risk factors in a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.
Agras says parental obesity represented the most potent risk factor, a finding that confirms previous observations, and the connection between overweight parents and overweight children is likely due to a combination of genetics and family environmental influences.
Childhood obesity can lead to many other health issues for children. According to the American Obesity Association, pediatricians are reporting more frequent cases of obesity-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes, asthma and hypertension — diseases that once were considered adult conditions.
It can be emotionally conflicting to think about the ways that one’s own health can negatively impact one’s children. But remember that the focus of this study and its findings is not about blame or shaming overweight parents, but rather about prevention. “It’s important to identify risk factors because they may provide a way to alter the child’s environment and reduce the chance of becoming overweight,” Agras says.
Remember: Good health is paramount for many reasons. The first reason is YOU. Obesity can prevent you from living a long, happy, and healthy life. The next reason is the people that you love. You play an integral role in building a healthy family. But while bad eating and exercise habits in children can be passed down from parents, the good news is that we have the power to change those unhealthy habits for ourselves, as well as for our children. Stay tuned for Part 2 for 5 tips for a healthier family….
Sources: American Heart Association, News Medical, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation