In a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June 2010) we learn that the percentage of overweight children and adolescents in the US has nearly tripled since the early 1970's?
Childhood obesity has links to diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and poor academic performance; however, most parents would rather have "the talk" with their child about sex, drugs, or alcohol than talk to them about their weight. Is it concern for their child's self image? Is it because you don't know what to say to them?
How do you address your concern for their weight with your child?
Great question, Jane! I think that some parents might have trouble broaching the subject with their children because they themselves struggle with the same issues. It's not just children that are suffering from weight issues. To the extent that parents face these same issues, they may either ignore them in their children or feel like they cannot address them because they struggle with the same issues.
In October and November, Wonderopolis is going to feature a series of health-related Wonders of the Day on Wednesdays. They will contain a lot of great wellness information for parents and children.
That will be exciting! In the meantime, perhaps parents will share ideas they have read or have tried. I learn so much from reading the responses in this group and from watching my son and daughter-in-law approach this particular issue with their children, Lily and Jax.
Will and Leslie have always watched what their children were given to eat, checking first for allergic reactions, and then for health value. Now that Lily is three and notices what they eat that she doesn't, they are approaching this issue with a family approach to healthy eating and excercise: reduced portion size, exercise, limitations on eating out, and bringing lots of fruits and vegetables into the house.
I do think the United States Department of Agriculture's new visuals at ChooseMyPlate.gov is a great place to find a Tip of the Day plus interactives and visuals that teachers and parents alike can use with their children.
I hope parents will check out First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative Let's Move website for more ideas.
I think the focus should be on creating healthy habits and not the weight of the child. Children know if they are overweight and will try things to hide it. This summer my son started to pull his shirt why down to cover his behind and I talked to him about his self imagine and having confidence in his body. We exercise, eat right, and maintain a healthy lifestyle so as we continue to model this behavior, my children will see that you don't have to be a model to have a good self imagine. It is a learning process that we started three years ago and now he selects the right food to eat on him own. Hopefully all the time:)
I wholeheartedly agree with you. I like your idea of focusing on healthy habits and not the child's weight. I grew up in an era when my parents would not let me leave the table until I had cleaned my plate. Consequently, I still eat everything on my plate thinking it is wasteful to leave any food. This habit is probably ingrained for life.
My grandmother also baked numerous pies and cakes every week so I had a snack when I came home from school and then enjoyed another dessert at suppertime if I "cleaned my plate." Of course, it was an insult to my grandmother if I did not eat her baked goods. Thus, I am a "chocaholic' to this day, and I love sweets.
As you might guess, fighting the overweight "blues" has been a constant struggle in my life since childhood. If I had been encouraged to eat less and exercise more, my weight problem might have been avoided.
I might add--thank goodness for Weight Watchers and the YMCA (the YWCA closed in my city). Controlling my portions and working out most days is the only way I can control my weight today.
I was at my son's back to school night and the Health teacher said this generation will be the first that will not out last their parents! Pretty scary and I think we need to come togehter to help our children make better choices in their exercise routines, eating habits, and overall care of themselves. School and parents need to make this a group effort because without the support from both sides, this issue is going to get worse!
Common Sense Media wrote in their weekly parent post (January 17, 2013) about image tips for boys and girls who are struggling with the question "Am I Too Fat?"
For tips for boys, check out Boys and Body Image Tips that offers a video along with some advice and answers to help boys improve their self-image. The article discusses why boys are concerned about body image and makes suggestions for parents in how to deal with boys at elementary, middle, and high school age. The article also includes these tips for parents with boys at any age:
For tips about girls, check out Girls and Body Image Tips that offers a video along with some advice and answers to help girls improve their self-image. The article discusses why girls are concerned about body image and makes suggestions for parents in how to deal with girls at elementary, middle, and high school age. The article also includes these tips for parents with girls at any age:
After looking at these resources and talking with you sons/daughters, do you have any tips to add to the suggestions referenced in this post?
Were any of these tips helpful? Please share your experiences.