Comment on childhood obesity: Dr Carmel Houston-Price say parents must take responsibility and encourage healthy diet early on
Release Date 30 March 2015
Dr Carmel Houston-Price from the University's School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences comments on a study that found only four parents out of 2,976 families thought their child was very overweight.
“These are worrying statistics. Parents must take responsibility for their children's health and acknowledge when there is a problem. Research suggests that helping children to eat healthily early on could be key to reducing childhood obesity, so signs of obesity in young children should be taken seriously.
“Higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower levels of obesity. One approach to tackling obesity is to encourage greater consumption of fruit and vegetables. But getting toddlers to try something new - especially vegetables - is not an easy task. Getting to know the food through fun games and activities can help though.
“Research at the University of Reading has shown that toddlers who had drawn, smelled and poked unusual vegetables, such as sweet potato and broad beans were 32% more likely to taste them over other vegetables at a mealtime. Looking at picture books about foods also encourages children to try them later on.
“By developing a fondness for a wide variety of healthy foods toddlers stand the best chance of having a ‘five a day' diet later in life. This will bring lower levels of obesity and cardiovascular disease alongside a range of other health benefits."