by: Danielle MacKimm
Posted: / Updated:
UTAH (ABC4) – As the twenty-first century offers an abundance of technological advancements as well as the normalization of fast food among other things, more parenting obstacles continue to surface as the years pass.
Recently, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago released the findings of a study they conducted to better understand how parents model preventative heart health guidelines to their children, particularly in terms of nutrition and physical activity.
The study, which compiled more than 1,000 Americans, found that nearly two in four parents admit that they are not a good role model to their child in living an active lifestyle. Similarly, 35% of respondents revealed that they don’t set a good example for their children of eating a healthy diet.
Generational differences were reported by parents as an explanation of their little one’s ill-led lifestyles. According to the study, 56% of parents say they were more physically active in their childhood than their kids are as a result of the increased time children spend on phones, computers, and tablets today.
Physical playtime is a necessity for all kids, with peers and parents alike. Of those polled, 51% said they regularly feel too tired to be active with their children, while 57% said they believe their child would be healthier if they had more time and energy to play with them.
“A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, multiple cancers and depression,” said Kendra Ward, MD, MSCI, director of the Preventive Cardiology Program at Lurie Children’s. “Physically active children decrease their risks for these diseases and are also less likely to experience ADHD and more likely to have improved academic performance.”
In 2022, trying to guide your child to adopt a healthy diet can be next to impossible with all the processed, kid-friendly options available. As mentioned in the study, parents today need to consider whether or how much to offer food as a reward, a source of comfort, or as leverage to enforce certain behaviors. A total of 49% of parents admitted that their children would be healthier if they had more time and energy to cook healthy meals.
Weight management seems to be a concerning topic for many respondents. Fifty-one percent of parents revealed that they consider a high-sugar diet as much of a health risk as smoking.
According to the study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly one in five children to be obese. Of respondents, 23% confessed their children gained weight during the pandemic, while 57% shared that their already overweight child gained even more weight since the beginning of lockdown.
To combat this surfacing issue, it’s important for parents to be patient and encouraging in promoting change to their children’s health habits while avoiding shaming them for their natural impulses to indulge in tasty treats and sedentary activities.
Routine has proven to go a long way in raising children, the study revealed. Implementing nutritious meals as well as physical activity in both your and your child’s day-to-day could make healthy living the norm for your family.