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The Controversy of Obesity & Eating

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

“The risk of childhood obesity increased with increased parental concern about obesity and with increased incidence of early childhood feeding problems” (Satter, 1983). Additionally, Satter (1983) has found population studies to be presenting a major theme where the more television children watch, the heavier they tend to be. When watching television throughout the day, during a meal or not, the child is focused on what is on television rather than their internal cues on whether they are hungry, starving, or full. ALkhalik et al. (2022) studied children that ate fruits and vegetables once a week rather than daily were at a higher risk for obesity. Fruits and vegetables are good foods to implement in your child's daily food intake as they are low in calories, high in fiber, and tend to have a satisfactory impact.


It is important to allow children to rely on their internal regulation when it comes to eating; when they feel hungry, allow them to use their inner tunes (feelings) to eat (Satter, 1983). In addition, provide ample learning opportunities with food by introducing foods from each food group, such as fiber, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and protein. If children are forced to eat, children will start to rely on outside sources of regulation instead, such as eating when stressed, refusing to eat when forced to sir, or only eating with the television on.


Tips to Reduce the Risk of Childhood Obesity:

  • Develop a positive feeding environment (no forcing of foods, no negative comments)

  • Implement exercise or movement activities daily (can be as simple as walking)

  • Include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein foods, and dairy in your child's meals daily

  • Encourage drinking lots of water

  • Set a consistent sleep schedule

  • Reduce screen time


References

Abd AL-khalik, A., Al-Hafidh, A. H., & Kadhum, S. A. (2022). Relationship of eating habits and

obesity among children under 5 years in primary health care centers at Hilla City, Iraq.

HIV Nursing, 22(2), 1751–1757. https://doi.org/10.31838/hiv22.02.336

Satter, E. (2000). Child of mine: Feeding with love and good sense. Bull Publishing Company.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2022, August 29). Preventing childhood

obesity: 4 things families can do. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/childhood-obesity/index.html


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