What to Do Now to Prevent a Fat Kid Later

Cynthia Dermody
19

childhood obesityThis new research on childhood obesity is probably another one for the Duh! file, but not losing sight that 20 percent of kids today are overweight, it bears reminding:

Preschoolers with little self-control who seek instant gratification gain more weight by the time they are preteens than those who have some form of self-control.

Makes sense to me -- if you can't resist the Twinkie now, you won't be able to later -- but I was still stunned by the numbers from two research studies that came to this conclusion.

Children who showed very little self-control in tests that involved resisting certain toys and foods were 30 percent heavier by the time they were tweens, compared with toddlers who were better able to control their impulses. The out-of-control tykes also gained weight faster.

So how do you teach a preschooler self-control? My daughter was born with it, but my son would eat an entire box of doughnuts if I let him.

The researchers offers some vague tips, like training kids to stop and think about whether they are hungry before reaching for snacks, limiting favorite treats, and restricting eating to scheduled snack and mealtimes. Fine, but how do you do that?

 

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Does your toddler have self-control over snacks and toys?

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How are you teaching your toddlers to control their impulses better? Do you worry about your toddler turning into an obese big kid?

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