From API’s Publications Team
An article on the United Kingdom’s TimesOnline.com, “Tackle Child Obesity: Teach Mums to Eat,” explains how the solution to rising childhood obesity is in teaching parents that their eating behavior is how children themselves learn to eat.
According to a study published in the Paediatrics journal, one in four children ages four to five years old is overweight, despite normal birth weights. The reason, writes a convinced Susie Orbach, is that children are learning from their parents’ troublesome eating habits – their fear of food, preoccupation with body size, frequent dieting, and bingeing.
“You don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to know that childhood is formative and that one’s earliest eating experiences – entwined as they are with our fundamental feelings of security, love, attachment, and caring – form the basis of how we approach food and succour throughout our lives,” Orbach writes.
Continuing, she discusses how children learn to eat unhealthily from parents who eat to fill an emotional void. Children who watch their parents struggle with eating will grow up believing this is normal. These children grow up learning that eating is done not necessarily to meet a physical need but to curb negative feelings of boredom, anxiety, anger and conflict, sadness, and overexcitedness. Instead of dealing with their upset feelings, people with a tendency toward obesity turn to food for soothing, Orbach wrote.
To read the entire article, go to http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5361106.ece.