Parents: How to raise fat kids

Observations of a People Watcher

Initially I sat by a grandmother and teenage granddaughter. They both had two huge greasy looking slices of pizza, and a pop. After they finished eating they left and two family groups arrived.

I could not help noticing the parenting styles of two families that sat on the 40 foot long bench I sat on. The one group consisted of two mothers in their mid thirties. The mothers were obese – the children were not. They each had two children. The children ranged in age from about 5 to 8 years of age. They were well dressed – certainly nothing indicating any lack of disposable income. The mothers had just purchased sugar cones with big scoops of ice cream or gelato for their children add were eating doubles themselves. The youngest of the children a 5 year old boy had his gelato in a cup not a cone.

He had only eaten a few tablespoons when he announced he was full. The mother challenged him a couple of times, but he insisted he did not want to eat it. Then the mother said “I paid $5.50 for that, and you have just wasted my money.” He protested, but she stated “I paid $5.50 for that and you are going to eat it.” The little boy whimpered a few times as he dutifully ate his ice cream.

The other side of me a father who was about 6’2″, muscular but also overweight – bordering on obese sat with his three children, boys aged about 6 and 8 and a girl who was about 9. All the children had gelato in chocolate dipped gelato cones. The father had a double, which he consumed quickly followed by a double cheese burger.

The father was nearly finished eating his burger, when he said to his children “if it is too much for you, don’t eat it all. It is better for you to throw some of it out, than it is for you to force yourself to eat it.” Clearly this father, was a little more tuned in to the dangers of overeating. But, the fact remains that fatty food does not trigger fullness the same way as plant based food.

Researchers say that there are two ways your body tells us we are full. The one is volume of food consumed and the second is food density. Gelato is significantly higher calorie for the density than any plant based food. Gelato is also very high fat compared to plant based foods. Researchers say that fatty foods may be only 1/3, or less, the volume of plant based foods. In other words, you could eat 3 times the volume of ice cream or gelato as you could other plant based foods and that would probably amount to 4 to 6 times the calories.

The empty sugar cone is 40 calories. The recommended serving of Gelato is 1/2 a cup and is 240 calories. These cones held a cup or more. That means they were approximately 520 calories, compared to a large (3″) apple which is 95 calories.

Is it any wonder that obesity is on the raise?