Child Obesity Habits Begin At Home: Study Gives Tips On Parental Control


TV contributes to child obesity: image via medindia.netTV contributes to child obesity: image via medindia.netA nation-wide study of more than 1100 pre-school children up to 5 years of age in Australia indicates that 20 percent of children are obese even before they enter school.  Particular habits formed at home were identified as leading causes of a condition that is both physically and socially deleterious to kids and can continue all their lives - obesity.

The authors, led by Louise Hardy from the University of Sydney, point out the common elements in the homes of overweight students in their report, published in the journal Preventive Medicine.


  • More than 30 percent of overweight kids had a television in their bedrooms.
  • Almost half of the overweight kids ate dinner in front of a TV more than 3 times per week.
  • Almost 60 percent of healthy and obese children were given sweet rewards for good behavior.
  • More than one-fifth of overweight and obese children did not eat breakfast.
  • 70 percent of parents of overweight kindergarten children believed that their kids were the 'right weight,' and 30 percent of parents of obese kids believed that their kids were the 'right weight.'

Sugary treats for good behavior...: image via carbsyndrome.comSugary treats for good behavior...: image via carbsyndrome.comHardy acknowledged that the above habits were either the results of parents' lack of time or lack of education regarding the habits that can lead to obesity, but recommended in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald that children should be 'screen free' while eating their meals. (Screen means no TV, no computer, no cell phone and, generally, no electronic devices.)

Children should not be drinking sugar in soft drinks and juices, nor rewarded with sweets for good behavior, Hardy says.  "This may sound draconian," Hardy told the Herald, "but why are we rewarding good behavior at all?"

Good question.

You can say, 'Well that study was about Australian kids," but just last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics, released a report entitled "Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media." In it is the statement: "American society couldn't do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy - too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise, and not enough sleep."

It may sound old fashioned, and Hardy admits that time is a factor for today's parents, but she says there's nothing like kids watching the process of food preparation, eating the food with the family, and after dinner, going out with family members to kick a soccer ball around.

references: University of Sydney via MedXpress, The Sydney Morning Herald, Chicago Tribune


Oct 3, 2012
by Anonymous


The food was changed in the USA, UK and Australia 30 years ago when dangerous food chemicals from the USA was allowed into Europe. The food today causes stubborn insulin If you have stubborn insulin you hold fat and have a hard time losing weight. You can eat very little and the weight still does not come off. Stubborn insulin will hold fat and diets won’t work. When researchers used a specialized diabetes diet on overweight people all lost weight even those who did not have diabetes.

Oct 3, 2012
by Anonymous

Food addiction

You are correct that the food has be filled with obesity causing chemicals. I would like to add that doctor's are showing that most overeating is caused by depression and prior abuses. This was shown by Dr. Dunkley in Europe

Oct 12, 2012
by Anonymous

Technology to the rescue

I try and persuade my daughter not to watch TV while eating but do not succeed most of the times. On her computer though, I've installed a free app called Qustodio that helps me regulate what she watches and what not. That has helped me to some extent in curbing her bad viewing habits.

Oct 15, 2012
by T Goodman

Good tip!

Thanks for posting that tip.  You're right; whatever helps!