Monday, August 10, 2009

Psychologist Says Parents Can Help Stop The Obesity Epidemic

“Childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 40 years, which may mean today's children become the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents, a leading obesity expert told the American Psychological Association on Saturday. However, parents can help stave off this impending crisis if they help their children to eat better and exercise, according to Edward Abramson, PhD. Abramson, professor emeritus at California State University-Chico, teaches psychology and is author of the books ‘Body Intelligence’ and ‘Emotional Eating.’ Parents can increase the odds of getting a child to try a new food by having the child see them enjoying the food and having the child help prepare the unfamiliar food, said Abramson. ‘If the child is in the kitchen cooking with Mom or Dad, it's unlikely that he/she will refuse the food that they've helped prepare.’ Physical activity can also help prevent obesity even when there is a tendency to gain weight due to genetics, Abramson said. Research has shown that 4- to 7-year-old children of active parents were six times as likely to be active. Exercise in school lowers the risk for obesity, whereas time spent watching TV or on the computer playing video games increases the risk.”

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