A study from the Children’s Hospital of Iowa finds the percentage of obese children statewide has ballooned from seven-percent in 1985 to nearly 13-percent today. Nutritionist Fran Toring (TORE-ing) says parents can help their children learn better eating and exercise habits, and summer’s a perfect time for it. She says moms and dads may not believe it, but studies prove the power of parental example. Toring says “It’s amazing that the parents are the number-one influencer of the food they eat and whether or not they are physically active.” The hospital, based at the University of Iowa, is hoping parents will set a “five-a-day” fruit and vegetable habit for their kids this summer. Toring says if parents want their kids to get more exercise, they need to set an example. Toring says “The most likely one was the parents and the least likely to motivate them to be physically active were Olympic and professional athletes.” She’s urging parents to set better exercise and eating habits for their kids this summer. About 15-percent of children in the U-S are considered obese. Between the late 70s and 2000, the percentage of overweight kids aged six to 11 more than doubled. Most Americans still aren’t eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, despite almost constant warnings about the health risks posed by poor diets. Toring says part of the problem is so many people eat out. “They’re a little shy about asking for what they want. So that if you’re going to a restaurant that serves french fries as a side, ask for fruit or ask for a garden salad and they’re quite willing to make a substitution.” Toring says the U-S-D-A has increased the recommended amount from five to nine a day, but Americans don’t even eat five a day. She says men are least likely to eat enough fruits and vegetables.
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