Can today's childhood obesity epidemic be stopped?
David Ludwig, MD:
It would be nice if we could send our children to school and know that they were being fed a high quality school lunch, that they would have the opportunity to engage in active recreational play,and get physical education classes at least most days of the week. And then they could walk home through safe neighborhoods, go to the park and play,not be tempted by junk food and fast food at every corner.We can all work to make the world a healthier place for families and for children. Until we can do so though, it's up to families to create a, a bubble of protection for children in the home,and that's the responsibility of the parents and teenagers and children, but each has its own role to play.The parents responsibility is to control what comes into the home and to set limits and to say no.It's absolutely appropriate for a parent to say no, even to a teenager who wants to bring junk food into the home.But parents also need to learn that they can't control their children, uh 100% of the time.And need to choose their battles wisely. A teenager leaving the home is going to be subject to peer pressures and uh,and also will be needing an opportunity to experience some self determination and responsibility. Um, so I also encourage parents not to try to over control what happens outside of the home.Focus control on what's within the home, and then allow children to control um what they eat and how much they eat within the guidelines of limits that are set by the parents.