Like most parents, you want your children to be healthy. However, not everything your parents did is necessarily what experts consider to be most healthful now.
According to obesity researchers, the United States obesity rate has more than doubled for preschoolers and adolescents-and more than tripled for ages 6 to 11-over the past 30 years. Obese children are at greater risk for health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, and often carry these problems into adulthood.
So, how do parents help children, and the entire family, eat healthier, both at home and away-from-home? "Talk to your pediatrician, family doctor or registered dietitian to determine the healthiest weight goals for the entire family," said nutrition expert Jenifer Bland-Campbell, "then make a plan to tackle the issue."
She offers these tips to help parents help their families eat more healthfully:
"Parents can help children reach wellness goals by first making healthy changes at home, then teaching kids what to do away from home," said Bland-Campbell. "Healthy eating does not happen overnight, but children take cues from their parents and will learn behaviors over time."
Bland-Campbell is a registered dietitian with ARAMARK, a company that manages food service programs at businesses, colleges, hospitals, and approximately 4,000 schools across the country.
You can find research on the away-from-home nutritional preferences of Americans at ARAMARK'S Web site, www.diningstyle.com. There, parents can find their own dining style and receive tips from dietitians on more ways to eat better.