Parental Modeling is Key to Raising Healthy, Active Kids

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Parents are by far the most important role models for kids and could cut our country’s childhood obesity numbers by simply setting a good example at home, this is according to a newly released study summarized in USA Today. The Omidi brothers, through their non-profit The Children’s Obesity Fund, see this as a helpful reminder to parents raising young children.

Parents need to be cognizant of the lifestyle examples they set for their children, according to a USA Today story quoting from a study published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The Children’s Obesity Fund, and its co-founders Michael Omidi, M.D. and Julian Omidi, encourage parents to be good role models for their children by leading healthy, active lifestyles themselves.

This same report goes on to cite doctors who say that when parents start teaching their kids about healthy eating and exercising at a young age, they're more likely to follow those habits their entire life. It is important that parents find fun ways to exercise routinely with their kids and that they also cook for them most nights instead of eating out.

“We tend to forget that children are learning and absorbing everything their parents do, and as a result might pick up unhealthy behaviors,” says Children’s Obesity Fund co-founder Dr. Michael Omidi. “If we engage in healthy activities and make sure that we not only feed our children nutritious food, but allow them to see us enjoying healthy meals as well, we can cause those good habits to adhere.”
The research also suggests that giving children adult-sized plates can affect the number of calories a child consumes per meal. The 41 first-graders observed gave themselves larger portions (approximately 90 calories more) when given large plates than when given smaller, child-sized plates. It was also noted that the children did not increase the portion size of the vegetable side dish even on the large plates.

It was also recommended that parents monitor television time, as the study indicates that television has a greater impact upon obesity than other types of media, such as video games and the internet. The children who reported watching the most television had the highest BMI rates. And finally, parents should make sure kids get enough sleep every night. Studies show that a lack of sleep increases hunger hormones and decreases the fullness, which could lead to weight gain.

Keeping kids fit and healthy is a family activity. Kids with active parents are more likely to be active themselves, just as kids with sedentary parents are statistically more likely to be sedentary. While a healthy lifestyle can be enjoyed at any age, it is particularly important for very young children to be exposed to physical activity and nutritious foods in order for the habits to be deeply engrained.

Co-founded by Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, M.D., the Children’s Obesity Fund ( hopes to help reverse the trend of rising obesity rates in America. The goal of the non-profit charity is to help people fully understand the obesity issue and its dire impacts on individuals and society as a whole -- and to use that knowledge to encourage children to grow up strong and healthy. Children’s Obesity Fund partners with other organizations to educate and support parents, educators and others so that we can all work together to raise healthy, active, social, and happy children. While the organization does not accept donations, it does encourage direct contributions of money and talents to the associations featured on our website. Children’s Obesity Fund is on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

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