Three Rules to Combat Childhood Obesity

Parents can help fight childhood obesity with three simple lifestyle changes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) While it’s true that childhood obesity is a complex problem influenced by many factors, the key to combating this problem may lie in three simple rules, according to a new paper.

The recently published paper cited the three rules as eating a mostly plant-based food diet, being more active and turning off media.

The paper's author noted that by focusing on these three rules, parents and children can make healthier choices.

"Eat healthy, get moving and limit media intake."

This paper was written by Kristopher Kaliebe, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans. In his paper, Dr. Kaliebe provided parents with three simple rules to help families make healthier choices.

Dr. Kaliebe cited the first rule as “eat food,” and by "food" he meant food that is minimally processed and whole such as vegetables. One way to do this is to eat food that can be grown in gardens or on trees. According to Dr. Kaliebe, eating this way eliminates the need to count calories, carbohydrates or fats.

The danger of food processing, Dr. Kaliebe noted, is that it can introduce bad things into food, such as chemicals and high amounts of sugar, while removing good things like fiber.

Items like chips and cookies can be eaten, but they should be reserved only for special occasions. Other eating tips included using smaller plates to control portion sizes and not permitting additional eating beyond three meals and an afternoon snack.

The second rule offered by Dr. Kaliebe is to "get up and move." Physical inactivity and excessive sitting can put individuals at a greater risk for heart disease and other serious health problems.

Parents should find every excuse to get active and make walking or other physical activities a part of their daily routine with their kids, according to Dr. Kaliebe.

The last rule is to "honor silence." By this, Dr. Kaliebe was referring to all of the noise that accompanies media and technologies that are common in our society. He noted that television and video games should be forbidden in children’s bedrooms as well as on school nights. Family meals should also be devoid of any form of media, he wrote.

Dr. Kaliebe concluded that by replacing noise, processed foods and physical inactivity with silence, minimally processed foods and physical activity, parents and children can lead healthier lives.

This paper was published on May 1 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Kaliebe reported no competing interests.

Review Date: 
May 14, 2014
Last Updated:
May 15, 2014