August 17, 2009

Parents can help stop child obesity

Parents can make a difference in staving off obesity in their children if they help them eat better and exercise, a U.S. researcher says.

Edward Abramson, a professor emeritus at California State University-Chico and author of the books Body Intelligence and Emotional Eating, says there has been a tenfold increase in type-2 diabetes and psychological and social consequences, such as prejudice, rejection, discrimination and low self-esteem in children.

Bad eating habits can start with emotional eating, or eating when one is not hungry, or from following a strict diet, Abramson says.

This can lead to a weight problem or an eating disorder, Abramson says in a statement.

Parents can increase the odds of getting a child to try a new food by having the child see them enjoying the food and having the child help prepare the unfamiliar food, Abramson advises.

If the child is in the kitchen cooking with mom or dad, it's unlikely that he/she will refuse the food that they've helped prepare, Abramson says.

Research has shown that 4- to 7-year-old children of active parents were six times as likely as others to be active, Abramson told the American Psychological Association meeting in Toronto.