Dr. Mehmet Oz gives diet and weight-loss advice on his hit talk show every day, but underscored that parents must be proactive in order to prevent and combat the alarming epidemic of childhood obesity.
Dr. Oz said it's important for parents to set an example for their children by making healthy food part of the daily family menu.
"If you grow up eating burgers and fries and a large soda, you will actually take those same taste buds into your adult life," he told WSMV-TV Oct. 21. "You'll crave the same things at 35 and then 55, and that's where the real problem hits us.
Once you bring the junk into the house, the kids will overwhelm you and get to it. So make decisions where you control the kids' destiny: Bring healthy stuff into the house and let them eat whatever they want, because everything is healthy."
Dr. Oz, whose audience includes many stay-at-home moms (and dads), said parents should try to make the family dinner a daily ritual, like it once was before the advent of the Internet, 24-hour cable TV programming, and video games.
I'm a parent. I'll put myself in this group. With four kids, I dramatically underestimate the importance of eating meals together with the kids. There are no excuses for dinner time. It's an opportunity for parents to impose a rule that you hope your kids will carry on to their lives as well."
Dr. Oz, a longtime advocate of a low-fat diet, raised eyebrows yesterday after admitting that a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can prevent and even reverse Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, and Parkinson's.
But no matter what diet one follows, the "Dr. Oz Show" host emphasized that parents should model positive behavior, as well as treat their children with love and respect.
"Never forget: Your kids will treat themselves how you treat them when they grow up," he said. "They'll treat themselves how you treat yourself. So, if you don't express this to them, they won't have that wisdom to pass onto their children."