The children were part of an obesity-prevention program designed by nutritionists at Tufts University and the community of Somerville, Massachusetts, called Shape Up Somerville. The program consisted of overhauling school lunches, teaching kids about nutrition in school, increasing in-school and after-school physical activity programs and sending out newsletters to their family with health tips, recipes and healthy-food coupons. (Healthcorps – the foundation founded by Dr. Oz and his wife, Lisa, with help from Dr. Roizen – works with high-school kids to do the same.)
What the researchers found was that as the kids shaped up, it got the attention of their parents, and changed their lives, too. When the parents got involved with healthier eating and recreational activities for their children, they started buying healthier food and snacks for home, and supported city bike lanes, walking paths and other community health programs. The result? BMIs for moms and dads decreased more than their kids’ did, and the parents went from being overweight to a healthy weight!
The lesson for public health efforts, say the Tufts researchers, is that when you improve children’s health, you also can make their parents more committed to healthy habits. The lessons for Mom and Dad? If you work to lose weight and improve your health as a family team by shopping for healthy foods, taking regular walks and getting active together, you’ll get results.
© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.