from Yolanda Evans, MD
Working odd hours could be related to child obesity
A recent study from Australia found that having a Dad who worked odd hours was related to having a child who was overweight or obese. This study did not find an association between weight and a Mom working odd hours.
The researchers’ theory behind the findings was that having a Dad who is not working regular hours may add stress on the other parent in the household to provide the meals to the children at home. This stress may lead to less time sitting and eating as a family and more meals that include fast food.
In this day and age, we are all very busy! Many parents do not work from 8am to 5pm anymore, so having meals as a family can be very challenging. Having healthy food options available is also a major challenge for families. Here are some ideas for incorporating healthy eating behaviors in to a busy lifestyle:
- Plan ahead. Prepare meals on the weekends, or during the week when you have time. Many things can be frozen in individual portions and then reheated when you’re ready to eat.
- Try to eat together as a family 3 times a week. We have 21 opportunities to eat meals during the week (3 meals a day, 7 days a week). Having just 3 meals together as a family each week can decrease obesity in children.
- Utilize school meal options. Schools have breakfast and lunch available. Take advantage of these options for encouraging healthy eating habits in children.
- Limit eating on the go. Use the above ideas to limit fast food and eating on the go.