It’s Mother’s Day weekend but a new survey finds some Iowa moms may not know best when it comes to their kids’ weight problems. Barbara Moore, president of Shape Up America, and says a national poll finds many mothers aren’t facing facts when it comes to fighting childhood obesity.
Moore says, “About one out of every three kids is overweight or obese and that finding agrees with other findings, but the big surprise is 76% of our moms of overweight children think their child is at a healthy weight when, in fact, they’re not.” A 2010 study from the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality ranked Iowa eighth in overall prevalence with nearly 27% of children considered overweight or obese.
Moore says there was another problem unveiled in her group’s survey, in addition to mothers ignoring their kids’ weight issues.
Moore says, “The other big surprise is that only one in four moms say their kids are spending too much time watching TV and playing video games when we know the average American child is watching about seven hours of screen time each day.”
The first thing parents need to do, Moore says, is admit their child may have a weight problem and then make a plan to attack it. She says to start with the basics. “One is turn off the TV and go outside and play,” she says. “Another is get enough sleep and another is eat meals together as a family. Those three strategies have been shown to be effective in preventing weight gain in children.”
The Shape Up America website offers parents a Meal Upgrade Calculator to help launch a diet plan. Moore says, “The calculator will help busy moms trim about 100 calories a day from their family meals and it will also help them identify activities their kids enjoy and boost the energy expenditure of their children by about 100 calories a day using the Family Activity Calculator.”
Between the two strategies, it can create an energy deficit of 200 calories a day, which translates to 10 to 20 pounds of weight loss throughout the year. Moore says parents should regulate snacks to fruits, vegetables and lean meats while sweets and salty snacks are saved for special occasions. Packing school lunches can also help parents monitor what their child will be eating away from home.