Are you fat? And do you worry about your kids getting fat?
Well, if you’re a mom of boys or a dad of girls, you probably don’t have much to worry about, if a new study is an indication. A British study of more than 200 families showed that obese moms are 10 times more likely to have obese daughters and obese dads are six times more likely to have obese sons. The link is behavioral rather than genetic, researchers believe, possibly because kids are mimicking their same-sex parent’s attitudes about food.
I’m calling BS on this for a number of reasons. One, they didn’t do anything like, oh, observe eating behaviors at home, just basically said “You’re fat and your kid’s fat, it’s your eating habits.” Secondly, while big fat parents almost never have skinny kids and thin, active parents almost never have fat ones, those things can be attributed to lifestyle but maybe genes as well. The vast majority of people in the middle seem to have kids who are all over the map too.
Plus, I look at my own family. I am definitely overweight, and one look at my family of origin shows the apple didn’t fall far from the paternal tree. I am cursed with the body of my Polish barmaid ancestors, while my mom is trim as can be in her 60s. My brother, who takes after her side? There’s been some beer-related soft belly years, but his general build is skinny and he drops weight like nothing when he sets his mind to it. As far as my kids, my daughter is super tall and thin and built exactly like her dad’s side of the family, and my son is still full of toddler pudge so it’s hard to tell where he’ll end up.
I guess just get tired of the blame game when it comes to obesity. Yes, people eat way to much crap and don’t exercise and whatever – but I know just as many thin people that applies to as fat ones. As for me? I focus on offering my kids a variety of healthy foods, every meal includes a vegetable or fruit, and I make sure they see me eating and enjoying vegetables and whole grains as much as I do cookies – but we don’t make a big deal out of the occasional pizza or hot dog. I work out four days a week and take my kids to the childcare at the Y when I do so, and make sure both my husband and I always frame it as something we do to stay healthy instead of as a way to lose weight. So far, it seems both my kids dodged the genetic bullet – but if they don’t, I’m not taking the blame.