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Parents: You Are to Blame for Your Child’s Obesity

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years.

Photography by NHOPHOTOS.com

Parents, you are to blame for your child’s obesity. If you want to know why and how to stop contributing to your child’s obesity, just scroll down the page. Dr. Natalie Muth, author of “Eat Your Vegetables and Other Mistakes Parents Make,” provides great advice for you to end this issue of obesity.

Problem #1: Encouraging your child to eat all of the food on his/her plate

Dr. Muth says that a common parental practice that could lead to childhood weight gain is the “clean plate club.” When parents require their children to eat everything on the plate, kids then lose the ability to use their own feelings of hunger and fullness to decide how much to eat. “And that habit stays with that child for their whole life,” says Dr. Muth.

Problem #2: Bribing children to eat veggies by offering dessert

Another classic mistake parents make is to tell their children that if they eat the vegetables, they can then have dessert. All of a sudden, the dessert becomes a reward. “It starts early, with our preschoolers. We set them up to rely on food-usually unhealthy food-to make them feel good,” notes Dr. Muth. She recommends not catering to picky eaters. “We’re actually setting our kids up to have struggles with their weight down the road,” she says. “Parents need to provide their children with a healthy balanced meal, and the child will come around, and they will eat.” Another great practice is to always keep healthy food in the home “so a child doesn’t have to choose between potato chips and an apple-because really what’s there is an apple and a pear,” said Dr. Muth.

Problem #3: Lack of physical activity

In addition to controlling what they’re eating, Dr. Mush suggests placing them in a physical sport. “We need to get our kids up off the couch and get them moving again. “We need to help our kids to remember how much fun it is to be active and to get moving. Set the stage so that they’re out there doing that and playing and breaking a sweat and having fun.”

Dr. Muth cautions parents about purchasing items that claim to have 100% fruit/vegetables. She notes, “They’ve taken out the fiber. They’ve taken out the good stuff and left you with pretty much sugar in a cup. Our kids are much better off eating the real fruit. They get a lot more vitamins, a lot more minerals, a lot more nutrition, and it fills them up.”