Childhood obesity is now the top health concern for kids; last year it ranked third among parents’ top 10 overall health concerns for kids.
But there is hope! A study published in the latest Preventive Medicine journal suggests the need for, and promise of, home visiting programs in the fight against childhood obesity. Researchers at Saint Louis University School of Public Health studied the impact of one home visiting program (Parents as Teachers) on fruit and vegetable intake of parents and their preschool children, examining whether changes in parent behavior were associated with improvements in what the children ate.
What they discovered is that parenting practices are learned over time and are often deeply embedded in family traditions and culture, so it’s probably unrealistic to expect parents to change in the short-term. However, they point out that ongoing reinforcement, such as that provided by Parents as Teachers parent educators, can help parents change their attitudes about food and fitness over time.
High 5 for Kids was developed out of this research. It’s a web-based course through Parents as Teachers University, available to anyone working with preschool-age children and their families. Registration is just $50, and what a deal! It includes educator resources, parent handouts, parent newsletters and calendars, and strategies for encouraging parents to read food labels, watch their portion sizes and buy more nutritious foods.
Check it out and let me know your take on it here. 🙂