Parents Have Major Role in Battling Childhood Obesity

Conventional medicine is finally waking up to the contribution parents are making to the epidemic of childhood obesity, according to a new report.

Researchers are working on methods for training pediatricians and dieticians in the art of motivational interviewing, involving simple, non-judgmental straight talk with parents about health issues exacerbated by obesity and how to help them make lifestyle changes, so they can begin to take better responsibility for their family's health-harming behaviors.

The results from a six-month pilot study of some 91 children (ages 3-7) and their parents, divided into three groups based on approaches ranging from the intensive to no intervention at all, were statistically minimal at best, although the BMIs for children in each group dropped.

Although nearly all of the parents reported that the interview sessions helped them think about changing their health habits, those meetings didn't make a significant difference in the amount of time families spent watching TV, consuming soft drinks or increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables they ate, all great contributors to the obesity epidemic that harming our world's health.

One of the first and best things a parent can do to stop the obesity epidemic dead in its tracks in their home, aside from setting more stringent guidelines on TV time and keeping children on the move: Be a terrific example of the behaviors you want your children to adopt, then give them all the encouragement and support they need to make those changes.

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 161, No. 5, May 2007: 495-501

Yahoo News May 9, 2007

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