As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.
Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.
I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.
There are quite a few factors that are increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity. First children are MUCH less active than they were in the past due to computer work, video games, etc. With fast paced lifestyles, families are eating less meals together, grabbing food on the run, and making less than healthy choices. Also, not sitting for meals, eating quickly, or eating in the car/in front of the TV, etc does not allow the child to recognize hunger and fullness cues which may lead to overeating. Environmental factors also may be contributing. Research has linked the prevalence of BPAs in plastics with the ability to disrupt the endocrine system and recently a Columbia University study found a link between PAHs in polluted air and an increased obesity risk in children.
Families need to make meal time a priority. Children should be sitting for meals, eating slowly, and eating a plate filled at least half way with fruits and vegetables. Eating a family meal allows parents to role model healthy habits to children and also allows children to focus on their food with limited distractions, helping them to feel satisfied and really recognize the body’s hunger and fullness cues without overeating.
Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, CPT author of the upcoming Belly Fat Diet for Dummies