Get Yourself Moving!™

Thoughts on improving fitness, nutrition and learning for children and adults alike

“You can have any snack you want… if it’s in the house.”

Certain Behavioral Traits and Feeding Practices May Increase Risk for Weight Gain in Children – The Journal of Pediatrics

Just came across this in a Journal of Pediatrics issue. This report talks about a study of 197 girls conducted by the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Penn State over a 10-year period.

What they found was that there are two things that can lead to childhood obesity. One is the child’s so-called “inhibitory control” level, a behavior similar to self-control. The other factor is whether the parents forbid the children from having certain foods. The combination of low self-control AND restrictive parents put kids at the highest risk for weight gain.

In other words, if your child is already prone to overeating certain foods, banning those foods altogether might actually be worse than letting them have their fill.

BUT! There’s an addendum to the story. Stephanie Anzman, MS, and Leann Birch, PhD, the two clinicians who conducted the study, concluded by suggesting that parents can help their children learn to control their eating habits by giving them healthy choices to choose from, and simply don’t keep the junk foods in the house at all. After all, if it’s not in the house, you’re not banning anything; it’s just that “we don’t have any.”

That keeps you as a parent from being the bad guy. And by letting them choose, it empowers your child to make decisions about what they eat (so they don’t feel like they have to sneak into the kitchen and swipe a snack when you’re not looking).

Fri, March 19 2010 » Reversing Childhood Obsesity, The Mind-Body Connection

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