Letter to the Editor: Obesity Prevention

Dear editor,

I believe it’s important to discuss how parents play such a huge role in preventing obesity in our future generations. Teaching children healthy eating behaviors from birth is extremely important due to the continually increasing obesity rates over the years and health complications that people are experiencing at younger ages. For those who are not aware, there are several complications associated with obesity, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypertension, stroke, fatty liver disease and much more. With this being said it is extremely important to teach our children good eating behaviors to prevent obesity.

It is recommended that infants are breastfed until at least one year of age and solid foods are not to be introduced until six months. Studies show that breastfeeding is superior to formula feeding in order to combat obesity. It is also proven that when combining breastfeeding and delaying solid food introduction until six months there is a lower chance of childhood obesity. While this first year of life is very important, we all know that in the infant’s toddler years they grow rapidly and slim out. This is where the parents eating behaviors come into play. Toddlers copy everything their parents do. They will eat whatever their parents eat. With fast food restaurants becoming more easily accessible and our hectic schedules it is easy to grab a quick dinner through the drive thru. Fast foods are high in fat and sodium. Giving these foods to our children is setting them up for health issues such as cardiovascular issues and regular poor eating habits. Parents worry about their children not eating enough which pressures them to give their child whatever they want to eat. Giving children these energy dense foods will not help the child nutritionally.

Parents need to be proactive and understand that it is extremely important to eat healthy in order to encourage healthy eating habits in their children and prevent obesity and the health complications associated with it. If we do not take this issue seriously, then we are going to continue to see obesity and poor health outcomes at younger ages, which will result in shorter lifespans. Overall, I hope this letter encourages more people to think about how their eating behaviors and choices affect their children and how important it is to prevent obesity.

Cassandra LaRose
YSU Nursing student