Checkup: Kids Are Bad for Parents' Health
If you had to guess, who would say is healthier: parents with one or more young kids or people without kids?
If you said people without kids, youíre right, and it has a lot to do with the fact that young parents eat a lot of the same junk they end up feeding their kids. Thatís what University of Minnesota community health researcher Jerica Berge found in a recent study. But she also saw that parental eating habits are complex.
"We found that not only did they eat higher or more negative amounts of sugar-sweetened drinks and higher total calories and higher fat foods, but at the same time were eating fruits and vegetables and whole grains and dairy."
Anyone whoís raised kids knows what Berge is talking about. As good parents, we always always try to put at least a few fruits and veggies on the table. But when things get crazy, too often we go for the quickest, easiest choice.
"And so maybe the quick meals, like frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets are quicker, and so given time will take the option which then of course in the long run will make their BMI higher because we guess that theyíre probably eating the foods with the kids."
Combined with probably not getting enough sleep and exercise, poor eating usually leads to poorer health. And if young parents arenít careful, these habits can take hold and even be passed on to the kids. But it doesnít have to be that way.
"Parents might need to think about physical activity differently. Instead of thinking they have to be at the gym or treadmill, they can think in their mind that itís just about being active with your kids. There are programs out there that have moms and kids doing exercise together."
Iím Jeremy Shere