Has your pediatrician informed you that your child is overweight or obese? With all the focus on the “obesity epidemic” pediatricians are now required to address the issue if a child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) falls above the 85th percentile (overweight) or 95th percentile (obese). A good parent’s natural instinct is to do the right thing which usually means take action.
Unfortunately, the first logical thing is to restrict a child’s intake, which most parents don’t realize is the worst thing you can do! Recent research actually identifies three major contributors to childhood obesity: (1) lack of sleep, (2) parental lifestyle and eating habits and (3) parental restriction. This means that the more a parent tries to stop a child from eating more, or withholds food from a child, the more likely they are to seek out food and overeat. It backfires.
What should parents do instead? Childhood obesity is a very complicated issue with many contributing factors. I recommend seeking out a pediatric registered dietitian for guidance. You can also start now to work on being the healthiest you can be as a parent! This means work on being active, cooking healthy balanced meals, and focusing on health and NOT weight. More on this important topic to come!