Whether you are thinking about making babies, already pregnant, or mom and dad to several - here are some studies and facts that came to bear this year:
- (1) According to a study this year (American journal of Public Health/CDC study) girls who engaged in 70-300 minutes of physical activity (through Phys.Ed classes) scored consistently higher than kids who had less than 35 minutes of PE/week. This is especially important since many girls in high school typically do less and less physical activity because they don't like to sweat, mess their makeup AND they no longer find it "cool."
- (2) It may not be a good idea to play feeding games with your infants and young childrens - you know those games where the "airplane (spoon) is coming in for a landing (in your mouth)." If you force a child to eat, they actually can become fussy eaters and ultimately weigh less than they should, as they begin to associate forced feedings with unpleasant experiences. That can make mom more anxious and determined to "get baby to eat - no matter what." and thus a viscious cycle begins. Better to allow baby's hunger and desire to eat be the operating force at snacks and mealtimes, especially if baby seems to be growing with normal growth patterns.
- (3) Make sure that when you are choosing meal bars and snack bars and fortified drinks and other "healthy foods" for your kids - you read labels and make sure these choices are indeed healthy choices and not "fortified candy." Healthy products that advertise nutrients can be well-disguised candy with a bit of fortification. Giving your kids these foods in lieu of fruits/vegetables/whole grains/plant-based proteins is a surefire way to help your child adopt an unhealthy attachment to processed foods that really are not good substitutes (except occasionally) for natural, more healthy foods.
- (4) Why the family dinner should be "sacred" - study after study, including a recent one involving 800 teens at age 13, and then revisited at age 18, show that kids who eat with their family are healthier, get better grades and may exhibit less risky behavior than kids who eat alone or in front of the TV.
- (5) Teens are apparently at high risk for succumbing to a nicotine addiction. After just a few puffs, adolescents seem to have a brain chemistry change that makes it difficult for them to resist addiction. You need to keep up the "smoking is not cool" dialogue.
- (6) Parents seem to be very much in denial when it comes to their kid's weight issues. A group of 2,000 parents polled, erroneously thought their overweight kids were "at normal, healthy weight." And less than 10% of parents in this group recognized true obesity among their children. Wake up and look at your child through the measuring glasses of: waist size, BMI (body mass index), actual weight and from their food and exercise habits. If you are considering pregnancy then you should realize that what you weigh when you start that pregnancy coupled with your own lifestyle habits, can contribute to a less than rosy "weight and health future" for your unborn child.
Published On: November 24, 2008