Lt Col Reynolds
Family lifestyle and habits can often contribute to being overweight or obese. Dr. Bethea, can you tell us about some of the things families do that might put them at risk for obesity?
Because family members often share dietary and lifestyle habits, obesity tends to run in families. Family life can be extremely busy, and a busy schedule often tempts us to make poor choices in our diet and activities. It can also be difficult to make healthy choices when we are surrounded by the unhealthy habits of others.
Opting for fast food or pre-made meals that are low in nutritional value and high in calories, instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal, is an example of an unhealthy lifestyle choice. In addition, many restaurants serve portion sizes much too large for one person, so eating out instead of sharing meals at home can encourage overeating.
It can also be hard to fit physical activity and exercise into your family lifestyle, but it’s important to make time for these things. Inactivity results in the body consuming more calories than it’s using, which can lead to weight gain. Doing physical activities as a family is a good way to reduce your risk for obesity and enjoy some time together. Try going for a walk after dinner, instead of sitting in front of the TV. Simple changes can often lead to new, healthier family habits.
A busy family schedule is not the only obstacle to healthy lifestyle choices. Where you live can also impact your family’s diet and activities. Living in a neighborhood that doesn’t have sidewalks, trails, area parks, and affordable gyms can make it difficult to stay physically active. Many neighborhoods also have limited options for buying healthy, affordable foods.
Be creative in looking for ways to improve your family lifestyle, and check with your provider for resources relating to diet and activity.