Families & Kids – Food Matters!!!

From the CDC.gov (emphasis mine)

  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

This makes me sad. Very, very sad. While my clients are mostly adults, many of them have children. Sometimes I work with the whole family, sometimes I just work with the parents so it “trickles down” to the kids. A good friend of mine and her husband have cleaned up their diet to include all fresh, whole foods, LOTS of veggies and fruit, no meat and definitely no junk. But they aren’t pushing it on the kids. They let the kids try what they want and leave it at that. Now their 4 year old daughter asks for spinach smoothies at night.

I LOVE that.

Kids will tend to eat what the parents eat, for good, bad or ugly. EAT BETTER FOOD YOURSELF!!! It’s got some benefits:

  • You’ll feel better.
  • You’ll have more energy.
  • You’ll decrease your risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other lifestyle diseases.

But if you’ve been eating the bad and ugly, and START to eat the good, sometimes the kids push back. Kids are just little people, and like us, they’re programmed to want sweet and fatty foods. So what’s a parent to do?


Now, don’t you feel better? If you’re relaxed, they’ll relax too. Don’t push the foods, but make them available. Make it easier to eat good food than bad food (that gets pretty easy when the bad and ugly stops coming into the house).

Dina Rose is my favorite food writer when it comes to kids.  She writes extensively on techniques (well rooted in behavioral/sociological understanding) to get kids to change their habits. One of her recent posts, on snacking, really hits into a big part of food issues kids have today. Excess weight and obesity come in part from eating empty calories, and traditional snack foods are the epitome of empty calories (chips, cookies, pretzels, candy, etc).

Type II Diabetes was once known as adult onset diabetes. Now it’s diagnosed in adolescents.

Our children are pre-diabetic, have high blood pressure and rising cholesterol levels.

This isn’t fair! And it CAN change. Sure our kids are influenced by marketing (with it’s BILLIONS of dollars) and school lunches, but they start and end their day at home. So put down that slice of pizza and go eat some veggies, and invite your kids to join you!

Stay tuned for more tips and upcoming classes on kids and food!

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