Monday, September 10, 2012

Thoughts: childhood obesity, working parents, etc.

A few months ago my aunt ordered me the Parents magazine, which I have quite enjoyed. The past two issues have had articles on childhood obesity. The articles highlight families and children who are obese and what they are doing now to help their kids. It also mentions some reasons the children got like this in the first place. However, there is one reason they did not bring up and I think it deserves to be talked about and considered. It is: working parents---as in both parents work. I think this is a legitimate thing to talk about when talking about childhood obesity. Why? Well, I'll tell you. 

If both parents work and get home around 5 or 6 (dinner time), then they are both often exhausted from work and might not feel like making dinner. [I know Tyler does not feel like making dinner when he gets home and I know I do not on the one night a week I teach ballet.] However, everyone is hungry and needs to eat.  So, going out to eat or ordering take-out becomes quite common in families with two working parents. In the article, it did mention that eating out or unhealthy quick fix dinners were a big problem in these families, but failed to mention why these families were eating out all the time the first place (FYI-all the families highlighted had both parents working). I am suggesting that working parents could be a key problem to childhood obesity. I am not saying it is a terrible thing to have both parents working, I just think this problem should be discussed more openly. I think you can eat healthy with both working parents but it is more difficult. Also, there are plenty of stay-at-home moms who do not feed their families healthy food---but it is easier to eat healthy if one parent has the time to make a home cooked meal every night.  I know some people who have the dad at home and it works for them. I prefer to be at home. 

Whatever the case and whatever you might believe,  I do think it is better both for the health of the child and the child's overall well-being to have a parent at home. I personally see nothing degrading about being a stay-at-home mom. What other job could possibly be more fulfilling and difficult? As a stay-at-home mom I have full control over everything Elanor eats, plays with, reads, watches, etc. Plus, I get to spend time with her, learn about her interests, talk with her and I think a super important one: discipline her. Working parents do not have this luxury and the raising of their children is tended to by nannies, day-cares and schools (except on the weekends). Again, I really don't care if you work or want to---I simply think that this is not talked about enough and should be a considered  as one of the reasons why there are so many overweight children and also more children with problems that are being "fixed" with pills (depression, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, etc.).

What are your thoughts on this? 
 I am curious what others think, so I would love to hear some comments!

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