Controlling Kids' Diet Won't Make Them Fat
Many people think that parental efforts to control what kids eat are bound to backfire. But new research suggests that moms who meddle in mealtime choices may actually succeed in limiting kids' unhealthy weight gain -- and in any case such rationing does not cause childhood obesity.
Looking at a group of 789 kids, researchers from Brown Medical School compared changes in Body Mass Index from ages 4 to 9 with a rating of how "restrictive" kids' mothers were with regard to what kids were allowed to eat. Turns out that kids with controlling moms were not at increased risk of gaining more weight. In fact, boys (but not girls) whose mothers monitored food choices were much less likely to exceed normal weight gain. Another interesting gender difference: Mothers were 72% more likely to increase control over food choices when girls (but not boys) gained excess weight from ages 4 to 7.
The take-home message is that if you think your child is gaining more weight than she or he should, then it's healthy to be concerned and to try to limit your child's calorie intake. Far too many parents are in denial about their children's weight problems and research shows that parents with the least concern about their kids' weight tend to have the fattest children. And while it's tempting to dismiss youthful pounds as cute "baby fat," an obese adolescent has a 70% chance of being an obese adult, and courts associated health risks, ranging from heart disease to diabetes and cancer.
Help educate your children about the importance of nutrition and physical activity by visiting dolesuperkids.com, which offers music downloads, videos and online games that make healthy learning fun.