Health

New Study: Family Involvement May Help Kids Lose Weight

A mother and daughter practice basketball skills together at a neighborhood playground.

A new scientific study released last week by the Journal of the American Heart Association reviews strategies shown to be successful in helping children get healthy. Involving parents in weight loss efforts could go a long way in helping children change their behaviors, the study finds.

The childhood obesity epidemic in America is growing at an alarming rate. Our obesity and physical activity research has found that failure to address the development of regular physical activity behaviors and good nutrition at an early age in girls has major health and economic consequences. When girls participate in sport by the age of ten, there is much larger chance that they will still be participating at age 25. 

"In many cases, the adults in a family may be the most effective change agents to help obese children attain and maintain a healthier weight," said Myles Faith, chairman of the American Heart Association’s statement writing group, in a news release. "To do so, the adults may need to modify their own behavior and try some research-based strategies."

These research-based strategies include singling out specific behaviors that need to be changed, spelling out activity options for children, changing the kitchen around to make wholesome foods more accessible, praising kids for what they're doing right instead of punishing them for what they're doing wrong and having parents demonstrate a healthy lifestyle through their own consistent healthy behavior.

Parents can also help shape their children's attitude and perspective on physical activity. No longer does living a healthy lifestyle mean "exercise." Playing on the playground, using movement and dance-based video games, simply strolling around the neighborhood -- these are all valuable forms of activity and easy ways to embed positive behavior in children at an early age.

The WSF’s award-winning educational curriculum, GoGirlGo!, works to improve the health of sedentary girls and to keep girls involved in physical activity. Learn more about getting your children involved in GoGirlGo! here. Our simple and easy-to-implement resource, Tips for Getting Girls Active, provides parents with the essential information to get their girls to be physically active and help guide them to a healthier lifestyle.

Our Mission

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a non-profit that advances the lives of women through sports and physical activity.

About the Foundation

RELATED POSTS

New study shows female high school athletes less likely to fight, carry a weapon than non-athletes

As schools around the country look for ways to reduce violence and bullying, they may want to consider encouraging students to participate in team sports, according to a study presented last weekend at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington, DC.

Eight ways well-meaning parents are making their children unhealthy

A recent segment on NBC’s Today Show examined mistakes well-meaning parents can make that, in reality, contribute to unhealthiness in their children. From banning sweets to serving too much fruit juice, some smart-seeming feeding habits can actually backfire. Watch as Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer explains eight of these habits and offers alternatives that will help parents reach their goal of happy, healthy children.

WSF Research Cited in New HBO Series "Weight of the Nation"

If you happened to catch a glimpse of HBO's new four-part documentary “The Weight of the Nation” on Monday and Tuesday night this week, you may have heard a report citing the Women’s Sports Foundation. The documentary, aimed at analyzing the growing obesity problem in America in the last few decades, highlighted negative statistics about the health of our country. The program forewarned that a national crisis may undoubtedly occur if health care costs continue to rise at the same rate as current body mass indexes.