Dr. Ed King (Pediatric Alliance — St. Cair Division) chimes in on last week’s five-part series, “Prevent Overweight/Obesity”:
When I discuss nutrition with patients and parents, I talk about “culture.” Our whole culture revolves around food — salty, sweet, fatty, and lots of it.
Telling children to eat their vegetables is like rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic. (Double entendre not intended, but I’ll take credit for it!)
In our culture, parents who actually follow dietary recommendations are considered “crazy” because they are so far from the average American parent. Parents trying to do the right thing have to endure constant assault from grandparents, institutions (schools!), neighbors, and birthday party junk food pushers. It seems like almost every day in America is a reason to celebrate with excessive food.
Most Americans would be utterly shocked if they did a 3-day calorie count and compared it to recommendations — even those of us who think we’re doing a good job in many cases.
I advise parents that if they want their children to eat well, they need to change the environment of their home. They need to put out good food to eat and walk away, and not spend all day arguing about it. Let children know that this is the food that is available and they will not be getting other special food from any other source. This message needs to be sent by parental behavior, not parental lecturing, and it will be very effective.
If anyone knows of situations where children starve for lack of macaroni and cheese, processed meat, pizza, French fries, and chicken nuggets, please let me know.
And another thing: children and not supposed to be fat. They’re supposed to be wiry, active little monkeys without a gut. As a pediatrician, I am inundated with parents utterly stressed over the fact that the children will not allow them to keep stuffing them with food, and that their children are lean.
The vast majority of children will grow well if allowed to eat when they are hungry and offered only nutritious choices at routine mealtimes (and not given the option to skip meals so they can raid the processed food drawer later).
Here’s another tip: Processed food — just say no. Anything you see on TV that is singing the songs of how healthy it is and comes in a box or wrapper, is probably NOT healthy. For example: Apple juice=sugar. (Despite the fact that the commercial would like you to think it’s a panacea.)
Oops, did I rant?
Yeah, a bit! Thanks Ed!