Parents ‘can stop obesity’

Herald Sun November 06, 2010
PARENTS who cave in to their child’s “fussy eating” demands contribute to weight problems, with some mothers cooking up to three different family meals for dinner. While children have always been selective in what foods they eat, it has now reached a stage where dinner tables resemble more of an a la carte restaurant. But rather than allowing children to rule dinner time, new research and dietitians urge parents to take control to stop their kids’ weight gain. Parents can be the most effective tool for treating child obesity, with US researchers finding overweight kids can lose weight through the behaviour of their parents. And leading pediatric dietitian Susie Burrell said one meal should be served at dinner, rather than letting children choose their meals.
“What we observe with both overweight kids and fussy eaters is that the child is often in charge, pushing the parents to purchase specific types of food, generally less healthy options, or refusing to eat particular meals parents may have prepared,” Ms Burrell said. “This study has shown a weight program has had the same effects if parents alone are targeted, which makes sense, as for pre-adolescent children, adults provide the food and create the family environment.” University of California San Diego researchers found parents can play a vital part in their children’s weight gain, but also in their weight loss. Parents who are fussy eaters are likely to cause their children to be fussy. But instead of needing medical intervention to stop childhood obesity, mums and dads can do it.