Childhood Obesity: Treat The Parents?

sharma-obesity-food_traffic_lightsMost health care practitioners working with overweight and obese children acknowledge the importance of involving parents (or even the whole family) in the treatment plan.

Now a study by Jillian Avis and colleagues from the University of Alberta, published in Clinical Pediatrics, shows just why addressing the health behaviours of parents may be necessary.

The study looks at over 260 parents of kids with obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥85th percentile) referred to a tertiary care pediatric weight management clinic in Edmonton, Canada.

Parents were predominantly overweight/obese (82%), and 70% of them did not meet dietary recommendations for a healthy diet.

In contrast, most parents (~60%) met guidelines for physical activity, sedentary activity, and sleep.

Despite the important limitation that the vast majority consisted of women (84%), which is why little is known about the health behaviours of the dads, it is evident that in the vast majority of cases, the parents of overweight/obese kids may well benefit from behavioural interventions (in particularly regarding their diets).

This is of particular importance as it is highly unlikely that children will significantly change their diets is their parents don’t.

Edmonton, AB