Yesterday I met with a highly rated pediatrician, who said the childhood obesity problem is due to the quantity of food we eat rather than how much sugar or fat we consume. I asked him to elaborate. He said parents are constantly coming into his office exclaiming that they can’t get their children to eat anything. This particular doctor looks them in the eye and says it’s ok–your child is growing. I was one of those parents. After my daughter finished breastfeeding she slimmed down beautifully. Then she proceeded to become the pickiest eater I have ever seen. Until recently it was our goal and struggle each day to feed her. Yet when we took her to the doctor she stayed on a good weight/height track. The pediatrician believes that parents in the US treat food like gold and feel successful only if their child has eaten — a lot. I thought of how I worry that the milk, half sandwich and fruit cup I give my five year old for lunch is enough and have to reassure myself everyday that I, who is three times her size, eat only slightly more for lunch.
I still think the obesity problem is related to sugar in that we just don’t ask for a second banana or apple, but scream for ice cream and cookies. When parents are out of time/patience/experience/education, it is just too easy to hand them something easy, AKA unhealthy, just to shut those little darlings up and children will keep screaming if they are rewarded for it. Feeding children, like feeding ourselves, healthy food is hard. Anyone got any tricks to offer?