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Parenting (cont.)

Raising a Healthy Eater

Most children (from infants to elementary school age) eat for two primary reasons -- hunger and its enjoyment. As they become older, some children will start to use food as a replacement for "something missing" in their lives and eating may become a way of handling this void, or dealing with frustration or boredom. This "management style" is a learned behavior -- often learned at home. As a pediatrician, I have seen obese parents raising obese children. It is not uncommon to reward a child's behavior with a promise to stop at the local fast food restaurant on the way home -- and I doubt a salad is purchased. I was once astonished when a very obese father told me he wasn't going to keep high-fat items (in this case donuts from a famous chain) out of the house in order to help his obese 8-year-old son avoid such items. "I like them. I'm going to keep eating them. It's his job to stop eating them." Raising a healthy eater requires setting a good example -- often no more and no less.

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