I gained 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Lots of good food. Too much family time to exercise. Tennis buddies on vacation. I was trying to add just a few pounds, so that I wouldn’t look thin or even gaunt. Oops, too many desserts!
However I just found two articles that describe how parents are causing their kids to add blubber. The first says a recent study of 9-month-olds reveals that 32% of them are overweight or obese. And 34% of 2-year-olds. Too much formula and maybe shoving the bottle in to quiet the infant. Breast-fed-only babies don’t have the same result. Some infants are given soda in their bottles and french fries as well.
The second article lists nine ways parents are sending the wrong message or setting the wrong example. Check it out to see if you are seriously responsible for your kid’s chubby body. Here are a few of the suggestions, some of which we can apply to ourselves. Maybe my love of desserts and scorn for broccoli is due to being bribed as a child…
Don’t give up trying to get him to eat healthier fare. It’s not unusual for children to start liking a particular food only after they’ve tried it five or 10 times.
Kids who eat by themselves—often in front of a TV or computer screen—may eat more, or eat the wrong kinds of foods. Experts say it’s best to eat together as a family, preferably around a table.
Ever use dessert to bribe your kid to eat his vegetables? That sends the message that veggies are “bad” and dessert is “good.”
Some well-meaning parents insist that children clean their plates. But that only encourages kids to eat when they’re not hungry. Better to cut back on portion sizes. If your child is still hungry, you can always give seconds.
Mistake: Pushing Your Child to Play Sports You Like. If your kid doesn’t like your physical activity, encourage your child to find another sport or form of exercise she really enjoys.
No need to chain your child to the treadmill or weight machine. In fact, it could be counterproductive, because pre-adolescent bodies generally aren’t ready for adult-style exercise regimens. Instead, plan active outings, like a trip to the zoo, a family bike ride, or a walk. Kids should generally get about 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
Mistake: Setting a Bad Example. If kids see you plopping down in front of the TV every evening, they’re likely to think that’s the thing to do. So even if you prefer sedentary activities like reading or doing crossword puzzles, find something active to do.