Healthy Home; Healthier Kids?
April 15th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
Children in low-income families with at least one overweight caregiver are at risk to gain too much weight themselves. Drexel University researchers are seeking particpants in a pilot study to see if changes in the eating habits of the adults also helps their children.
Want to be a participant in The Healthy Home Project?
To be eligible for the study, a caregiver must be at least 20 pounds overweight and have a child between the ages of 3 and 12 years of age living at home.
We live in a time when food temptations are everywhere, so, it's difficult for most of us to manage a healthy diet. But for many families, the challenge is affording any kind of food. "All moms would like this to happen, making these kinds of changes, both for their own benefit, and for their children's benefit. But, when you live in a relatively impoverished environment you don't have enough money, there's many more sources of stress in your life, just getting people to focus seriously on this issue sometimes is very, very hard to accomplish," says Dr. Michael Lowe of Drexel University.
His research team is working on The Healthy Home Project, a pilot program supporting changes in the eating habits of low-income overweight mothers. The hope is that these changes will also transfer to their children, who are at risk for gaining weight.
Dr. Lowe also says, "in such neighborhoods there are rarely true supermarkets. So, many people buy the majority of their food from corner stores, that don't have the healthy choices that supermarkets do, and they tend to be loaded with fast food restaurants, which are convenient and again relatively cheap for a lot of calories."
The program is designed to teach simple principles, such as serving soup or a salad before the meal, because it's been proven that filling up on a few calories before the higher calorie main dish helps portion control. Dr. Lowe also notes, you don't have to give up the fast food visits, just make a few adjustments, "so if you get a Big Mac and hold the cheese you are saving about 100 calories right there. Leave off the special sauce that could be another 100 calories. Ordering obviously the small fries instead of the medium fries, so on and so forth. So, these are principles we would be teaching as well."
In other words, no matter what your circumstances, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.