A study in Finland has revealed that children who are taught how to eat well at an early age tend to carry those habits with them into their teenage years, and hence will be more likely to have lower cholesterol levels than peers not provided with such early guidance.
- KC's View:
Yikes! A study suggests that responsible parents can actually have some influence over their children’s long-term behavior and habits!
Maybe kids pay more attention to their parents in Finland? Y’think?
(I actually think that we can file this story along with other stories from the land of the painfully obvious. But it raises issues that need to be addressed in a broader context.)
Listen, I’ve said all along that in creating better nutrition education programs in this country, parents and families have to be the first line of defense. I’m not entirely sure they can do it without help – our kids live in a highly integrated communications-driven world, and have access to so much more information and product than we ever did, that maybe society has to behave in a generally responsible way as well.
I’m not arguing for legislation, though I’m not entirely convinced that some sort of legislation that governs what can be show to kids is the worst idea in the world. But I do think that companies – which are, by and large, run by people who are parents – need to behave in a responsible manner. For example, Nickelodeon, the children’s cable channel, has just announced that it will stop licensing out its animated characters for use on “junk food” packaging. That seems sensible and responsible to me.
Of course, there is another problem with the “parental responsibility” argument. How many parents really understand nutritional issues in such a way that they can pass along their knowledge to their kids? Not as many as we’d like, I’d suggest – and you can see that just in the burgeoning adult obesity rate.
Meanwhile, MSNBC reports that only one if five patients diagnosed with obesity in this country actually has their condition formally documented and receives a formal weight management program from their doctors. While patients who are morbidly or severely obese tend to get better treatment, the lack of focus on lesser cases of obesity is seen as being a significant problem.
These are complicated issues, and I’m pretty sure that simplistic answers aren’t always sufficient to resolve them.