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Is Childhood Obesity Your Mom’s Fault?

According to a recent study, moms who are overweight tend to feed their children more often—and fill up their plates more. This behavior increases the risk for childhood- and future adult obesity.

Please, May I Have Some More?

Today’s world seems to have such a disparity between childhood starvation and childhood obesity. Neither is healthy—or fair to the child. The particular study that observed the behaviors of overweight and obese mothers was out of the University of Florida.

Of the 29 obese women in the study, researchers concluded that they all assumed their children were hungrier than they were. They fed their children more food than did the mothers of a healthier body weight. The 29 children were all between the ages of three and six years.

Results of Too Much

The lead investigator on the case commented on one of the (negative) aspects of the findings. “Young children have difficulty recognizing when they’re full. The more they’re fed, the more likely they are to eat.” Whether they are full or not.

Certainly, parents and caretakers need to oversee that children are fed when hungry. The difference, however, is that the obese women presupposed that the kids required more food than they did. This study opens up a great dialogue on how parents and children together can work on reasonable portions.

The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics recently published these discoveries. Appropriate portions during childhood can lead to a lifelong of healthy eating habits. Additionally, learning at a young age what it’s like to feel hungry—and then full—is essential for each.

Snacking Situation

Snacks can be good. In fact, they can increase metabolism, help lower blood sugar, and relieve hunger before the next meal. But, they have to be nutritious!

Salty snacks (high in sodium and low in fiber or vitamins) and candy are the major calories derived from the worst snacking. Research in the past decade has shown that children’s snacks consist of almost one-third of their daily caloric intake. Since the 1990’s, kids’ calories from snacks have gone up almost 170 calories, daily.

Snacks for children and adults should be fiber and nutrition-rich. Some examples are carrots, a handful of nuts, or a scoop of peanut or almond butter on a celery stick. Fruit is good in moderation and should be derived fresh (not from juice or cans.) A scoop of anything with healthy fats (avocado, hummus) on an organic corn chip is perfectly acceptable and delicious. And, don’t forget to drink a glass of water!

Knowledge is Power

Knowing how much to feed yourself—and your child—is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight. Remember that your stomach is much larger than a toddler’s. It’s also important to recognize true hunger. Are you really hungry? Or bored? Or stressed?

And just because it tastes good, are you eating more than you need?

You can help prevent your child from becoming overweight by teaching healthy eating habits early in life. Part of how this can be accomplished is through modeling. Check with your practitioner, pediatrician, or nutritionist for professional guidance. You can always check here for other tips on nutrition, parenting, and best health practices.