PARENTING: Reducing risk of childhood obesity by 75%

A study based on 40,000 individuals looked at the association between a mother’s lifestyle and the risk of obesity among their children aged between nine and 18.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reported in the BMJ in July, found that mothers who maintain five healthy habits – eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking – may reduce their children’s risk of becoming obese by 75%.

Child obesity is on the rise, with almost 60% of children in their last year of primary school classified as ‘severely obese’.

“What we eat and our body weight can have just as big an impact on our risk of disease as smoking or drinking,” says nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns. “This is a risk factor that we can control, unlike some others such as genetics and age.

“The power is in our hands to make a change and stay healthy as we get older and raise a family. And this doesn't mean having to follow a strict diet or never have any treats; simply turning away from processed foods and favouring 'real' foods and our five a day of vegetables and fruit can make a huge difference.”

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