Honey We’re Killing the Kids

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

TLC has a show called “Honey We’re Killing the Kids.” If you haven’t see the show, you can see their website here:

I haven’t seen the show, so I don’t know how realistic it is. Here is a guide of how to encourage activity with your children. They’ve broken up the activities into age groups, which help. I find the list a little simplistic, but it’s a good start if you feel totally lost with your children.

I have a hard time with most recommendations regarding childhood obesity. Sometimes eating is a control issue and children are just exercising their will on the only thing they feel they have control over. I feel like you can’t force a child to eat healthy. They have to do it on their own and the only way you can get them to do that is to provide a good example: “Do you want to be strong like Daddy?” or “Do you want to be pretty like Mommy?” Younger children will answer yes to that question every time. If Mommy and Daddy are eating healthy, then the children will automatically mimic that behavior.

Child obesity has more to do with the parents than the children.


10 Responses to “Honey We’re Killing the Kids”

  1. bridget Says:

    This comment…” I feel like you can’t force a child to eat healthy. They have to do it on their own and the only way you can get them to do that is to provide a good example” is the biggest copout for parents I have heard so far. Children come in to this world knowing nothing, and survive on us as parents to give them the skills they need in this life, they are not the ones that choose the bad food it is the parent who are giving it to them from the get go. Maybe parents need to realise that they are responsible for laying the foundation for good eating habits.

  2. vh Says:

    I don’t get basic cable so I can watch it only on DVD or if I am visiting a friend but I seen clips about it on the net. I don’t think it’s a cop out being a good example is going to speak volumes. Children will be more willing to eat vegetables and whole grains if they see their parents doing so. You can’t teach your kids healthy eating if you’re not eating right yourself.

    PS A little junk food isn’t bad. Banning all junk food can lead to binge eating.

  3. Karla Says:

    My experience as a parent of a four year old is that it is not that simple to encourage or to actually get children to eat healthy. For some kids, their parents’ healthy eating habits do translate into healthy eating for their kids. But no aspect of parenting (for all kids) is as simple as “do what I do”, and most of the people expressing this view have never had children.

    Activity, again in my experience, is much more easily encouraged. I feel fortunate that my son enjoys taking “flower” walks with me, riding his bike (in good weather, either my husband or I usually bike him around), and spending hours in the afternoon at the neighborhood park. We also regularly visit the “woods” and go for a hike, and do lots of outdoor activities in the summer where there are abundant opportunities to climb, run, jump, and other wise physically play. We have a sandbox and a rock pit in the backyard where he and his friends spend hours doing “construction work”. But, again, these things are what he naturally enjoys, and we do not need to so much encourage him as we simply ensure that these opportunities are available.

    With food, it’s not so simple. I made his babyfood when he was an infant, from organic whole grains and vegetables and fruit. And he was breastfed, so very little of what was fed to him before he was 1 year old had anything in it but pure and wholesome and healthy food. But once he was old enough to feed himself, he began making it clear that he found certain foods repulsive. He would gag at the sight of some foods, like applesauce. It turns out he has some sensory integration issues that largely express themselves around food. For him, the texture and look of food that falls into the “healthy” category makes him literally feel sick. Most times when I am eating fruits and vegetables, he leaves the table or tells me that I need to go away from him. Pushing it on him makes it worse. So, yes, even though I model healthy eating habits for him, he is not simply a machine of imitation. Children, even very young ones, can have preferenes– very strong ones– and nothing you can model or do can get them to eat some foods.

    I guess I would say that even though my son refuses to eat all fruits and vegetables (though he will sometimes eat a banana or raisins, or cream cheese with vegetables), he still eats a reasonably healthy diet because that is mostly what he is offered. He eats a good variety of wholegrain, often organic cereals, brown rice crackers, and other nutritional food. It is not as if we buy him fruitloops because he won’t eat fruit. He still has the choice of eating some cookies (e.g. vanilla wafers) and occasionally candy, because I also don’t believe in restricting foods.

    I guess this is really a long-winded way of pointing out the fallacy of the logic in “if the parents ___, then children will too.” Children, especially if you raise them with any sense of respect for themselves as individual people, do not simply mimic what their parents do. I have learned with my son, who continues to receive occupational therapy for his sensory issues, that food preferences can be very hard-wired, and that there is nothing a parent can do if a child refuses certain food choices.

    Before I became a parent, I believed that I had complete control over how my child would turn out — what they would do, what they would eat, what things they would enjoy, etc. It turns out that parental control is more an illusion rather than a reality– and most of that is a good thing. My son is a delightful, intelligent, amazingly curious and creative individual who is a self-taught reader of both English and Hebrew. We have read to him since he was a baby and now he loves reading. But our friends with a child 2 weeks younger than our son has no interest in reading– they have to practically bribe her to listen to a book read to her. While parents can provide opportunities to their children (and should be faulted when they do not), you cannot force your child to eat foods that they do not like.


  4. Laura Moncur Says:

    You’re right, Karla. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to control what your children eat. The more you try to exercise control, the more food issues they are going to have.

    The ONLY thing you can do is provide good food and a good example.

  5. vh Says:

    Karla I agree you hit the nail on the head with activity and control. I can only try to be a good influence but I can’t guarantee my family will follow. I also now how hard it is for me to keep on track also. I believe that’s way important and we are not the only food influences on our children. TV is a big influence. One of the reasons I am so glad I got rid of basic cable is I do not have to suffer with the food commercials. I know that school will also be an influence because some kids just want to fit in and that means eating like the other kids do.

  6. Bill Nadraszky Says:

    Laura I have to agree with you that it is up to the parents to set an example ofr the kids in the eating department and I believe the exercise department. My kids think of it as normal that I ride a bike to work and that my wife works out before anything else in the morning and I am willing to be that not many of their friends would think that adults really do much exercise.

    Setting an example in all ways is one of the most important things we can do for our kids.

  7. Concerned Mama Says:

    Karla, my son has Asperger’s and he too has particular tastes and textures that he likes. Luckily, his food of choice to avoid is meats, nuts and eggs. My problem is trying to find a way to get good proteins and fats in him because I know how important it is to have a balanced diet. He is a very active child and I sometimes wonder if fruits, vegetables, breads and noodles are enough to keep his body and mind functioning at it’s optimum. He is very health conscious for a 7 year old. Much as my husband kids that I turned him into a vegetarian. He has exerted his preferences. I just keep talking about trying new things and eating lots of different kinds of foods and offering it.

  8. BBrown Says:

    I think moderation is the key. A little junk food once a week doesn’t hurt. Making healthy low fat variations of family favorites is key. It takes some research finding recipes, but it can be done (i.e. whole wheat pasta with homemade marinanara sauce, lasagna with tofu “mock ricotta”, low fat cream sauces made with soy milk). If I made my family eat sushi, they’d pitch pits, too. It’s like a massive culture shock on top of all the other changes. It’s easier to give the kids foods they are familiar with, but make them as healthy as you can. Yes, there’s cooking involved. I used to just pop an Encore in the oven, until I read the ingredients label.

  9. Dessire Says:

    The nutritionist looks a bit underweight. The approach is too much, too soon. I believe in fruits and vegetables and lower fat choices but I believe in some kid-friendly foods too. Ms. Bauer has a family, as I understand it, and a prosperous nutrition practice and book publishing contracts. Still, I think she operates far from the real world of middle to lower class families and kids. She could be more plausible with a few more pounds on herself and a bigger dose of reality.

  10. gadjitfreek Says:

    Why not do what my parents did when I was growing up? Eat what they give you or be beaten. When I see the behavior of some of the kids on this show, my first instinct is to beat them senseless. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have children!!!

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