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After raising 3 children, I found that being a parent is very tough. Having made numerous mistakes, I cannot say I am perfect. However, I have learned a few things.

I am sorely saddened by the state of childhood obesity. We address it with public service announcements or revamped school cafeteria menus, among other initiatives.

Being a naturopathic doctor, I am always looking at the underlying causes of any issue. In the case of childhood obesity, I need not look further than the parents.

I encourage you as a parent, or prospective parent, to take a long and honest look at each of the following examples of what is going on in our world today.

7 Ways Parents Mislead Their Children

  1. Parents give their children candy because they want it and will not be quiet until they get it.
  2. Parents stop by the nearest fast food restaurants because they do not have the time or desire to cook.
  3. Once at the fast food restaurant, the parents ask the child what they want.
  4. If a meal is cooked and the child does not like the selection, the parents will cook another meal just so the child will eat.
  5. Parents discourage physical activity by ‘plugging’ their children in to all the newest electronic entertainment…just because every body else does it.
  6. If a child is overweight, parents do not address it because they, themselves, are overweight or obese.
  7. Parents remain naive by ignoring the health risks their children are facing by encouraging behavior that increases the likelihood for obesity.

So, do those sound familiar? How many are synonymous with your own behavior? Do they seem overwhelming in nature?

I know this issue is difficult, so let’s address it head on. First, take the initiative by apologizing to your children and owning your responsibility as a parent.  After all, a parent’s job is to nurture, lead, guide, provide, and protect. Following are ways to combat the 7 issues stated above.

7 Ways to Lead Your Children the Right Way

  1. Candy is not a necessity for life. If does nothing to promote health, and it not a reward. It is actually a punishment.
  2. Plan better and do not be too lazy to cook. You control the schedule. Your child’s job is not to run things.
  3. Select the food your kids need, not what the want. Protect them, please!
  4. If the child doesn’t eat, they will be hungry. Trust me, they will learn to eat what you cook.
  5. Walk or exercise with your children. Limit the electronic time to 1 hour daily or less. The children will love and appreciate you so much for this later in life.
  6. Be honest about your own weight or health condition. Do something about it. It is funny how people will say “you are too skinny” but few ever say “you are too fat.”
  7. Don’t kill your children with neglect. Don’t you really want them to be more healthy than you when they grow? If yes, then help them as opposed to serving them a plate full of setbacks.

Please be encouraged and inspired to take a stand now against childhood obesity. Do not let it affect your family any longer. Be a parent…be a leader! This, my friend, is who you were designed to be.