Grandparents and Obesity


Yesterday we ate potluck lunch at church. There was a kid's table, and my 5 year old got to enjoy some independence and eat with other kids, instead of her parents. But halfway through she came up and told me it wasn't fair, another kid was getting to eat three desserts, and she only was getting one. Now, I know part of the fun of church suppers is tasting a little of everything, but I thought one big brownie with whipped cream on top was enough. And the other girl's grandmother had given three desserts as a bribe for eating a bite of pasta salad. One example doesn't make scientific research, but I couldn't help but find it interesting that the first thing I saw in the news this morning was new research out of London that found kids cared for at least part-time by grandparents had a 15% higher risk of obesity than their peers.

Let's just say, I didn't find this surprising. We're lucky enough to live close to my parents, so my kids see them a lot. And every time, there's chocolate milk, cream puffs, pudding cups, Cheetos and all sorts of "special treats" that they don't get every day at home. I always figured it was okay, aren't grandparents supposed to spoil their grandkids? But this new research sheds a light on the fact that sometimes those special treats might turn into a regular habit, especially for kids who spend a lot of time at grandma's house. Definitely something to keep in mind with our nation's worries about childhood obesity and the medical problems it causes.

I'm a firm believer in dessert. I even plan my meal around it, sometimes. But I hope to teach my kids good,  healthy eating habits, and part of that means eating sweets in moderation. There's nothing wrong with indulging now and then, but it only works if it's not an all-the-time occurrence.

So what do you do for these hungry kids and their sweet tooth? Maybe there are some healthier alternatives to try, like Yoplait's Trix yogurt, which is fun to eat and has less sugar than the regular yogurt. Switch out chips and cookies for healthy snacks like fruit and trail mix. For some other options check out these Healthy Snacks for Kids.

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