Mon, Dec 03 2012 at 1:42 PM
And what do parents do when they know their child is at risk for obesity? They should do what every parent should do: make sure their kids lead a healthy, informed lifestyle. Feeding children processed foods sets them up for increased addiction (including video gaming) and disease risks. One study found that when 3-year-olds ate a high fat/high sugar diet of predominantly processed foods, their IQs were lower at age 8 -- regardless of whether their diet had changed in the interim. Think about how much processed food we feed our kids -- ketchup alone has 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon! Limiting time with media and sending the kids out to play not only gets them amping up those good dopamine neurotransmitters that aid in learning, memory, attention, motivation and reward, it gets them away from food and hungry enough to eat the whole foods they need. The new science of epigenetics helps us to understand how any environmental cue – any person, place or thing – can influence how our genes are expressed. Even if our parents or grandparents lived long lives, when you continuously fall prey to hyperpalatable foods and the behaviors that support them (stress eating, for instance, or becoming one with your couch), this changes our gene expression. And this altered gene expression is passed on to our children. Our food addictions become theirs. The good news is that by controlling our weight, we also change how we express our genes. Your child doesn't have to continue that genetic disposition.