First of all, what is this? We can define generational obesity as the carrying over, generation to generation, or parent to child, of a lifestyle that encourages overweight. Like parent, like child, etc.
In fact, one study found a very consistent relationship between weight gain during pregnancy and birth weight and can be a risk factor for obesity in one’s later childhood. See a scientific journal article concerning this topic by Oken, Taveras, Kleinman, Rich-Edwards, and Gillman.
Another source stated, “if one parent is obese, there is a 50% chance that their children will be obese. However, if both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.” Scary, right?!
Stanford Health Care reports that obesity is on the rise. In fact, childhood obesity rates have doubled in the last 40 years, and for adolescents, the rates have tripled. Currently we know that more than 15% of kids aged 6 to 19 as overweight, and more than 60% of adults are considered to be overweight.
What can be done to prevent this? Stanford Health Care advises that breast feeding infants reduces the risk of obesity as kids get older. Do so at least 6 months or longer.
How about when kids are a bit older? Well, it is important to notice that kids don’t respond well to perceived hypocrisy. What exactly does this mean? It means you don’t engage in “do as I say, not what I do;” instead be a great role model for your kids in terms of healthy eating and avoiding generational obesity. If you, as a parent, are indulging in unhealthy foods or simply eat the standard American diet (the SAD), then don’t expect your kids or teens to eat healthfully!
Family meals can be mostly at home, helping to create a healthy eating environment. A healthy routine can be created by having regular times to eat meals and snack. It is most important for the family to eat together as often as possible. Kids/teens who eat with their families tend to choose healthier foods, like fruits, veggies, etc. Statistically they are at a lower risk for becoming obese.
Make sure that healthy foods are available at home to eat. Have foods readily available that are lower in calories, like fresh fruits and veggies, particularly avoid sugar, and only keep healthy fats in the house. Dr. Joseph Mercola has a nutrition plan which discusses why it is very important to have healthy dietary fats in spite of the fact that we hear lots of negativity about fats in general. That’s an older model and does it look like it works?! This article is entitled, Dr. Mercola’s Nutrition Plan: Level 1: Fats: Why Healthy Dietary Fat is Crucial. It’s a great and informative read!
Remember, kids learn to behave by watching their parents/caretakers. This is the nurture part of developing healthy habits and attitudes. Our genes, the biological part, can also play a role but remember that with healthy patterns, negative gene expression can be annihilated! Andrea Miranda states that family time together, or bonding, is “a great way to model expected behaviors inside the family circle and with others in the community. Modeling expected behaviors is also a great way for the parents in the family to learn how to communicate to each other as well.” Practicing this means that everyone gets healthier and families can get along better too.
Families that stand together united tend to be healthier and happier! For great sources of information on holistic, healthy lifestyles, including eating, visit Health and Wellness Online, LLC. To start to get acquainted with this information on making holistically healthier choices, please visit this course. For a more in-depth source of information, please visit this course. Finally, for a very in-depth treatise of this subject matter, please visit this course.
Have a holistically, healthy day and enjoy learning!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.