Childhood Obesity

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that parents are the most important influence in their children’s lives, whether they can make the time for their little ones or not. Now researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota say that the best way for parents to get their kids to lose weight is to do so themselves.

Apparently, 31 percent of children in the U.S. are overweight, that amounts to between 4 and 5 million kids. The study we’re talking about involved 80 parent-child groups with an 8- to 12-year old obese tot. These subjects were part of a parent-only as well as a parent and child treatment program for 5 months. The focus involved analyzing 3 types of parenting skills doled out in family-based behavioral treatment for childhood obesity.

The researchers also looked at the affect of each on the concerned kid’s body weight. One factor covered parenting styles and techniques, the other included alterations in the home food environment and the last one examined parent modeling behaviors to advance their own weight loss. Accordingly, parent BMI change was seen to be the only principal predictor of their young one’s weight loss.

“We looked at things such as parenting skills and styles, or changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child’s weight,” explained Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “The number one way in which parents can help an obese child lose weight? Lose weight themselves. In this study, it was the most important predictor of child weight loss.”

Treatment programs presently available often call for both parents and their offspring to participate in regimens which blend nutrition education and behavior therapy techniques along with exercise. These latest findings insist that clinicians should lay stress on parents losing the extra pounds in order to encourage their obese child to lose weight.

The results of this study have been published in the advanced online edition of the journal, Obesity.