Parenting can be difficult, as any parent who might be currently reading this knows. We bring our children into this world with honorable expectations and extreme hope. Even as we cradle them, we wish them long and happy lives. We hope that their gains are greater than ours and that they prosper. We hope that they are kind and good and fair. We hope that no great harm befalls them and that they discover love and one day have children of their own. As for ourselves, we hope that we raise them well and are adequate although imperfect mentors.
But even are best efforts will be imperfect; there is no getting around that particular obstacle. Mistakes will be made but, as good and loving parents, we will also try to correct our errors because we know that there is no greater responsibility than raising and caring for our children.
Health Related Role Modeling
We are being watched by the attentive eyes of our children. Aside from the behaviors we intentionally teach our children, our general behavior is under constant scrutiny and emulated by sons and daughters. Our habits, both good and bad, can very well become the habits of our children. Among these habits are diet and self-care.
In a household where only one parent is overweight, a child has a 40% chance of also becoming overweight. If both parents are overweight, the likelihood that their child will also be overweight increases to 80%. In a family where neither parent is overweight, the risk that their child will be overweight is only 7%.
Furthermore, the overweight parent is likely to diet and make critical comments about herself in front of the obese child and thereby nourish poor self-image and low self-esteem in a son or daughter.
Children Do as the Parents Do
Adolescents are more likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day if their parents do. On the other hand, if parents eat fast foods regularly, so will their teenage children. To illustrate the point, 62% of California adolescents drink soda daily and 43% eat fast food daily while only 38% eat five or servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Nearly one-third of California adolescents are either overweight or obese.
In a California Health Interview Survey issued to California teenagers it was found that teenagers who have parents that drink soda daily are 40% more likely to drink soda daily themselves. Teenagers who have parents that eat five servings of fruit and vegetables per day are 16% more likely to do the same.
In addition 48% of the parents who drank soda daily also ate fast food at least once per day.
Researchers have concluded that the eating habits of children begin with parent modeling and that parental behavioral changes will influence the diet choices of youngsters. Improving the eating habits of our children and some measures we can use to accomplish that will be explored in my next post.
Live Science - http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2011/sep/11_0038.htm - accessed 7/27/12
Preventing Chronic Disease - http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2011/sep/11_0038.htm - accessed 7/27/12