ERIC Number: EJ847178
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
What Can We Do to Prevent Childhood Obesity?
Zero to Three (J), v25 n3 p13-19 Jan 2005
This article explores the growing problem of childhood obesity and suggests guidelines for professionals to recommend to parents. Research has shown that an overweight child at 3 years is nearly eight times as likely to become an overweight young adult as is a typically developing 3-year-old. More of America's children are becoming overweight, and these children tend to be heavier than those of past years. The author argues that it is not our genes that have recently changed, but our environment. Contrary to popular opinion, which often blames parents for their overweight offspring, children learn food preferences from their peers. The author also finds no evidence that overweight children experience a different parental feeding style than do nonoverweight children. Thus, there is an absence of robust research to guide parents in how to prevent childhood obesity. The author offers four guidelines for professionals advising parents: 1) acknowledge the limits of parental influence in an obesity-producing environment; 2) empower parents to advocate for systemic change, such as healthier foods in child care and preschool settings; 3) refrain from urging parents to change their feeding patterns when we have little scientific evidence to suggest these are actually "wrong"; and 4) advocate for the parents.
Descriptors: Obesity, Child Health, Children, Guidelines, Prevention, Life Style, Health Behavior, Environmental Influences, Parent Influence, Parent Role, Nutrition, Peer Influence
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A