The study was published online today in BMJ. One in five children in the U.S aged 6 to 19 is obese, and so at risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other metabolic conditions later in life. While it is known that genetics play a role in obesity, the rapid increase of the disease in recent years is likely due to changes in lifestyle and diet, indicating that nurture more than nature is fueling the epidemic. For this study, researchers focused on the association between a mother’s lifestyle and the risk of obesity among her children and adolescents between 9 and 18 years of age. They examined data from 24,289 children enrolled in the Growing Up Today Study who were born to 16,945 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The researchers found that 1,282 of the children, or 5.3 percent, developed obesity during a median five-year follow-up period. Maternal obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity were strongly associated with obesity among children and adolescents.

While the greatest drop in obesity risk was seen when mothers and children followed healthy lifestyle habits, many of the healthy habits had a noticeable impact on the risk of childhood obesity when assessed individually. The risk of obesity was also lower among children of mothers who consumed low or moderate levels of alcohol than among children of mothers who abstained. Because so few mothers in the Nurses’ Health Study II were considered heavy drinkers, the researchers could not determine the association between heavy alcohol use and the risk of obesity in children. To the surprise of the researchers, mothers’ dietary patterns were not associated with obesity in their children, possibly because children’s diets are influenced by many factors, including school lunches and available food options in their neighborhoods. The findings of this study highlight the crucial role a mother’s lifestyle choices can have on her children’s health and bolster support for family- or parent-based intervention strategies for reducing childhood obesity risk. Other Harvard Chan School study authors included Klodian Dhana, Gang Liu, and Jorge E. Chavarro. Funding for this study came from grants UM1-CA176726, P30-DK046200, U54-CA155626, T32-DK007703-16, HD066963, HL096905, DK084001, OH009803, and MH087786 from the National Institutes of Health. Sun is supported by NIH grants ES021372, ES022981, and HL34594.

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  1. Do housework at a quicker pace and more often (for example, vacuuming every day)
  2. Eat a good breakfastCoconut and chia seed muesli recipe
  3. It was all-consuming for him and obviously, negative or positive, he loved the lifestyle
  4. Help your kids do in a variety of age-appropriate activities
  6. Playing hopscotch

Keep a toilet diary. This shows when, where and what kind of bowel movements your child has. It helps you and your doctor see patterns in your child’s bathroom habits. Try to keep a toilet diary for at least 1 week before going on to step 2. If your child is in day care, ask the teacher to help you track patterns in your child’s toileting. Below is a sample toilet diary you can print out and use at home or daycare. Teach your child to sit on the toilet. Play in the bathroom with your child to teach him or her that the bathroom is not a bad place. Allow your child to sit on the toilet with pants on at first. It may be helpful to have a foot stool so your child can rest his or her feet. Allow your child to have his or her favorite books, dolls, or small toys in the bathroom.

Read to, play with, and talk to your child when you’re in the bathroom together. Don’t expect or ask your child to have a bowel movement at first. Remember, he or she is still getting used to the idea of sitting on a toilet. Start with a very short amount of time (30 seconds). Slowly work up to 5 minutes. A kitchen timer can be the signal for the end of “bathroom fun.” Move to step 3 once your child is sitting on the toilet 3 to 5 times a day, for 5 minutes each time. Make sure your child’s bowel movements are soft and well-formed. It helps if you give your child fewer dairy foods and more high-fiber foods. If your doctor approves, you may be able to give your child fiber supplements for a short time. Ask your family doctor about diet changes. At first, your child may have more soiling accidents.

Have your child help clean the messes. Don’t yell or punish your child for soiling. Being angry with your child when he or she soils only makes toilet training harder. Stay calm when your child soils, so he or she won’t feel bad. Have set times for sitting on the toilet. Once your child has healthy bowel movements and sits on the toilet, have him or her sit on the toilet at regular times during the day. Time them to start about 10 to 20 minutes after each meal and during times when your child usually has a bowel movement. You’ll be able to tell these times from the toileting diary. Your child should sit on the toilet at least 3 to 5 times per day, for about 5 minutes each time. Reward bowel movements in the toilet. The first time your child has a bowel movement in the toilet, give him or her a reward. Good rewards include stars on a chart or fun activities. Give a reward after every bowel movement in the toilet. Later, give the reward after every few bowel movements. Pretty soon your child will be trained. Then you can stop giving rewards.


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