Bob McCoskrie: Onus on parents to set healthy example

NZ Herald 2006
A survey published in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows that children are not eating enough bread, fruit and vegetables, but plenty of chips, muesli bars and sugar-based drinks. The blame game continues – from McDonald’s to school tuck shops to TV advertising.

Should we blame parents? Research from the Boston University School of Medicine indicates that children of authoritarian parents are six times more likely to be overweight than the children of parents who mix freedom with clear rules.

The researchers reason that browbeaten children turn to comfort eating as a means of escape. The research also indicates that children of neglectful and permissive mothers are twice as likely to get fat.

Should we blame breast-feeding mothers? An extended study of parents and children, supported by the British Medical Research Council, found that bottle-fed babies who start eating solids early are more likely to become obese children. The researchers believe that breast-fed babies are good at regulating their milk intake in relation to their needs. But mothers who use bottles may be anxious for their baby to finish them and when they start a baby early on solids – before six months – they may not reduce the amount of milk given by bottle.

Perhaps we could blame TV. University of Otago research published last year indicates that television viewing in childhood and adolescence is an important predictor of becoming overweight.
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