Have you ever noticed how when one person is obese in a family, everyone else tends to be obese as well? And to be honest, that is expected since a child will eat whatever his parents will feed him so it's likely that he'll gain weight like his parents do. New research has found that weight management at home can not just help children but can benefit their parents too. So, if you enforce healthy eating and lifestyle habits on your child it will not only benefit him but you as well.
The researchers found that the DRIVE curriculum - Developing Relationships that Include Values of Eating and Exercise can help children lose extra weight and can also motivate their parents to get in shape. "Parents are the most important and influential people in a child's environment," said study researchers Keely Hawkins and Corby K. Martin from Louisiana State University in the US.
16 families were enrolled as participants for the study and their child's obesity risk was assessed for 19 weeks. Kids aged 2-6 years and with Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 75% were enrolled. The families were then randomly assigned either the DRIVE curriculum or were given health information only.
The DRIVE intervention sessions required establishing regular snack and meal times, reducing screen time, and encouraging physically active play. While these kids were able to maintain their body weight with a considerable reduction in their BMI, their parents were also able to lose a significant amount of weight. Children who were only provided health information went on to gain significant amounts of weight.
"Our results showed that at the half-way point of the study, children were becoming healthier. Changes in the health of the parents, though, did not happen until the end of the study. This points to the need for long-term, family-based programmes to support behaviour change," the researchers added.