Healthy Living

7 Things About You that Could Make Your Child Obese

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Parenting is tough, especially when you’re trying to get your kids to share your healthy lifestyle. It’s so much easier to put McDonald’s in front of their face than a vegetable dish, and there’s nothing worse than fearing our children will feel left out or won’t feel “normal” because they bring carrots and hummus to lunch instead of a bag of chips.

But the flip side, of course, is much, much worse. Childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing: doubling in pre-teens and tripling in teenagers over the past 30 years.

We make it an effort to teach our children good manners, the importance of education, and kindness, yet too few of us teach them the value of healthy living, and our child’s attitudes toward nutrition and exercise are a direct reflection of us.

Here are 7 things that you’re doing that your kids could adopt as well.

1. You’re overweight

If you have a weight problem, your child is as much as 50 percent more likely to be overweight as well. If your child’s other parent is also overweight, that likelihood jumps to 75 percent.

2. You use food as a bargaining chip

We’ve all done it: “If you behave you can have (insert sugary treat).” Study after study shows that this helps form an unhealthy relationship with food.

3. You have a junk food drawer/shelf/cabinet

When you include junk food as its own separate entity in your home, it separates and puts it on a pedestal—something your child will likely long for. It also means you have enough junk food to occupy its own space.

4. You consider your child “picky”

A recent study shows that parents who labeled their child as picky were less likely to eat fruits and vegetables themselves. So even if your kid doesn’t eat what’s in front of him, it’s still important to continually introduce healthy foods.

5. You don’t break the fast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and eating it every day actually shows a reduced risk for obesity in both adults and children. Set an example by eating breakfast together.

6. You don’t walk the walk

When you live a healthy lifestyle, your kids do, too. A 2013 study found that kids whose moms exercised regularly tended to encourage their kids to exercise as well, which made those kids more likely to be active and eat healthy. Basically, kids learn from their parents how to behave.

7. Dinnertime has no meaning

An “anything goes” mentality when it comes to mealtime means an increased risk of obesity, studies show. Eating as a family unit around the same time has been linked with more fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as lower intake of soft drinks.

~C.T.