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Parents Play Role in Hispanic Kids' Weight ManagementParents Play Role in Hispanic Kids' Weight Management

December 28, 2011

2 Min Read
Parents Play Role in Hispanic Kids' Weight Management

DALLASHispanics are among the most overweight ethnic groups in the United States; however, parents can help curb obesity by adopting healthy eating, physical activity and weight-management strategies for their kids, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center polled 19 Hispanic parents of overweight kids about their children's dietary and exercise habits, as well as roadblocks to making healthier choices. Parents identified 22 themes regarding the most important things parents can do to help overweight children lose weight, including encouragement, not making the child feel left out, the whole family eating healthy, and the parent setting a good example. Parents identified 17 themes regarding the most important things overweight children can do to help themselves lose weight, including eating healthier, limiting portion size and second helpings, drinking more water, increased physical activity, decreased screen time, children educating themselves at school, asking parents for help, and participating in interventions that include the whole family. Challenges to getting kids to exercise included expense, time constraints, and neighborhood safety.

Parents were open to integrating healthy substitutes into traditional Hispanic meals/snacks. As reported by HealthDay, the parents and children tasted Hispanic foods prepared with healthy alternatives, such as tortillas made with vegetable oil instead of lard, beans made without lard, healthy-grain enchiladas with low-fat cheese, baked fish, skinless chicken breasts and brown rice. Participants had favorable responses to all of the foods, with the exception of brown rice instead of white rice.

In designing effective weight-management interventions for overweight Hispanic children, the study findings may prove useful in identifying healthy, well-accepted foods and beverages; agreeable physical activities; suitable targets for reducing inactivity; and efficacious strategies for enhancing traditional foods and meals so that there is an increased likelihood of healthy diet and weight loss.

Parental input on the most important things that children and parents can do to help children lose weight and on challenges faced in trying to get children to exercise might provide valuable guidance in devising effective, evidence-based interventions that are likely to be adhered to.

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