Interesting study mentioned on The Today Show; yes, it seems I get a lot of my news updates from The Today Show ūüôā

That said, I agree with the author and group which conducted the study that the results are counter-intuitive to what I¬†would¬†imagine, which is that Dad’s¬†actually¬†hold more “weight” as to whether your child¬†turns¬†out to be¬†overweight¬†or not. Surprising, no? Not to sound like a 1950’s girl here, but most moms that I know are the ones doing the food shopping and cooking dinner at night, and often times the ones¬†coordinating¬†sporting events and¬†play¬†dates as well. Though I must admit that I’m lucky enough to¬†have¬†a husband that pulls more¬†than¬†his fair share of weight¬†around¬†the¬†kitchen¬†and typically does most of the cooking, I know that’s not always the case. He also makes sure our son is in all the sporting groups possible, often times with only 1-2 weeks off from one sport before he’s registered for another, so I can say that I’m fortunate to have an athletic-minded role model for our son.

So, the article begs the question; who is doing the shopping, cooking, and influencing the activity levels in the average home? The Australian study referenced by the Today Show piece, and published in the current issue of the International Journal of Obesity, focused on 3,285 two-parent families in which only one parent was overweight or obese; the kids in the study were 8 or 9. Researchers found that heavy dads were more likely to have heavy sons and daughters, but heavy moms were no more likely than healthy-weight moms to have heavy children.

So what’s interesting here is that a heavy mom is less likely to encourage her children to be overweight (does she teach better eating and activity¬†practices¬†than she herself does perhaps?) however, a heavy dad is likely to pass along his eating and activity habits. How does a healthy-weight mom with an¬†overweight¬†husband¬†ensure their children don’t take upon their fathers’ habits? How does she discourage their children from being overweight?

This is a tough one, because it seems a house divided by weight¬†would¬†be a hard topic to¬†approach¬†without upsetting your spouse, though obviously the health and wellness of your child is of the utmost importance. Perhaps¬†focusing¬†on a family walk together after dinner, or suggesting that your kids get¬†involved¬†in sports early on. ¬†Remember¬†though, an overweight¬†husband¬†may not be very involved in sports, and therefore be nervous about¬†participating¬†in them with your children. The idea would be to get the whole family¬†involved¬†and create a family-fun¬†experience, instead of one where the dad felt¬†pressured¬†be the one playing catch with their¬†children. ¬†I think it’s important to take a family approach to health, and be there to support each other through the challenges of¬†raising¬†healthy kids. There will be¬†many¬†times when you feel nervous, unsure of your ability to help, fearful of the unknown and¬†just¬†plain¬†foolish, but hey,¬†isn’t’ that what parenting is all about?!

In the end, I believe  our job is to raise healthy, happy children who have the right framework for living a happy and healthy life. So choose wisely, and remember to move a little every day!

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