This is what I'm talking about! Simone French and the University of Minnesota School of Public health won a $7 million dollar grant to discover why 34% of us are obese and another 34% are overweight. That leaves only 30% of us in a normal weight category!
The team will study school lunches, family food receipts and general habits that lead to obesity. Simone French's initial thoughts are that parents really do control the situation and have the power to make the changes. She says, "Parents really are the home environment managers. They decide when families watch TV or how much McDonald's they eat or when they are going to get the frosted Lucky Charms."
The $7 million grant will fund two studies: an initial two-year pilot study that will include 30 families and a second larger three-year study that includes 500 families. Researchers will begin the pilot study in late 2010.
Full report of this new grant can be found at: http://www.ahc.umn.edu/media/releases/obesitycenter/index.htm
A current project at the U, Project Eat, has maintained that kids eat better when they have family dinners, the kids are involved in the food preparation and they don't watch so much television.
From what I gather, these people are conducting a study in common sense that most parents could feasibly follow. Here are some habits we follow in our house:
- We don't eat out for dinner more than once or twice a month
- We have only whole grain sandwich bread
- The girls help prep dinner with me almost every night
- We don't eat sugar coated or sugary cereal
- Raw vegetables or basic cooked veggies (no cheese or butter) are served most nights of the week
- We make fun of Cheetos and frozen pizza in the grocery store by "thumbs downing" them as we walk by
- I let the girls look through the grocery store circular and point out what is healthy and what is not
- We talk about how good we feel after a healthy dinner
- My girls do not drink soda (we don't have it in the house and we order water instead of soda when eating out)
- I rarely use boxed/packaged ingredients that have a high sodium content
Do my kids feel like they are missing anything? No, I don't think so. Do we eat dessert sometimes? Of course we do! But as parents, it's up to us to train their palate to enjoy basic and more natural ingredients so when they are older, eating at McD's or microwaving a frozen dinner is a "last resort" instead of a first choice.