Want to Know the Easiest Way to Prevent Childhood Obesity? Just Take It One Bite at a Time

baby eating food
Image via Flickr/ nvainio

Welcome to 2016, everyone! I recognize that I have zero authority or calling to be the one that welcomes you to such an era, but you're all welcome nonetheless. We're five days into January, which means that every single one of our New Year's resolutions is five days closer to failing. 

Pardon the pessimism, but I'm just stating the truth. An article from Scoop Health out of New Zealand makes the claim that 85% of our resolutions will fall flat on their faces, including the ever popular resolution of losing weight. And this is actually a really good resolution to have. Parents model to their kids habits that will stay with them for life — habits that deal with health and nutrition, habits that involve addictive substances like tobacco and alcohol, and habits that nurture an healthy or unhealthy sex life.

So your resolve to eat better can not only help yourself with your own body weight, but it can also lead your children down a path of healthy and constructive habits that will help them develop into responsible and successful adults.

But let's set aside the habits concerning sex and drugs (and rock and roll):

It is an undeniable fact that dieting and/or exercising is hard — really hard. It takes patience, discipline, a suppressed sweet tooth, and the extra effort to leave the most delicious junk food alone.

But what if I told you that you could eat all of your favorite foods and still lose weight? No, I'm not sneaking in a Weight Watchers sales pitch — I'm just divulging some information that was published in Pediatric Obesity just a couple of weeks ago. 

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As was covered in an article from Yahoo Parenting, nine doctors from Mexico found that children who poked their fork into a piece of food, put it in their mouths, placed the fork back down on the plate, and took 30 seconds to chew actually lost weight as opposed to the children who they told to just eat at whatever pace they wanted (their pace being more than one bite per 30 seconds).

The reason behind this is the what is called the “satiety reflex” — the involuntary reflex that signals from that stomach to the brain that “dude, you really need to take it easy on the food for a while.” The satiety (say-she-it-tee) reflex typically takes about 15 minutes to kick in, so if you're pounding away at your food, you're going to be stuffed to the brim before your stomach tells your brain to tell you to knock it off.


Pedro Cabrales, one of the coauthors of the study, said that making the 30-second waiting game into, well, an actual game worked well. He suggested that each person at the table get their own hourglass that had 30 seconds worth of sand in them. “The hourglass made it more like a game,” Cabrales said. “We also noticed that the children kept each other accountable. If some forgot the hourglasses, the others would remind them.”

So not only can you continue to eat the foods you like in small quantities, thus dropping some weight, you can train your kids to do the same thing. Win/Win. 

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Does this sound too good to be true, or are you willing to give it a try?

What do you think?

Want to Know the Easiest Way to Prevent Childhood Obesity? Just Take It One Bite at a Time

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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