In the US, more than 50% of the adults and 35% of children are either overweight or obese, and there have been numerous studies show that childhood obesity puts you at higher risk for adult obesity. Also, it has been found that parents that are obese have children with a higher percentage of obesity, which goes to show that the risk for obesity starts at home, but there are some things we can do to change the behavior. Recently there was an interesting study regarding patients who are clinically obese that undergo gastric bypass surgery and the effects on the whole family.
What is the study?
A study was performed looking at 35 patients and their families in 2007 to 2009 that have undergone gastric bypass surgery, and all of the nutritional and psychological counseling that goes along with it. The patients that had the surgery were the main food purchasers for the family and did a majority of the cooking. All of the family came in for pre and post-operative meetings, so they could all be interviewed and weighed, along with the person who had the gastric bypass. The patients post-operative had an average of 8 pounds in the first year while their family members had around 8cm loss in waist circumference, and then continued to lose weight based on healthy lifestyle choices. What they found was amazing: at one year, the families had significantly less amounts of uncontrolled and emotional eating (which is quite a feat), increased physical activities (both together and independently), and they were more likely to pick healthy food choices when choosing food to eat. Pretty incredible, right? Clearly the family members all learn from this experience, of how to live and be healthier, which is the overall goal.
What does this mean to me?
I think it’s pretty interesting that we all know that making healthier lifestyle choices and filling our homes with healthy foods is one way to make healthier choices for our families, but this study shows that the person who makes food choices for the whole family, can have huge impacts on the health of the overall family. Not to add stress to those that do all of the cooking and shopping for their family (on top of everything else you do), but try to make healthier choices for food, it will take some getting used to, and I am sure that there may be some hemming and hawing by various family members, but as their waists shrink and they feel better, your family will thank you for the healthy choices!
I am NOT suggesting that everyone who is overweight go out and get surgery, but maybe a few family nutrition sessions might encourage everyone to be healthier and understand more about the fuel (food) we are putting in our bodies. If your family doesn’t want to go, then YOU can go, there are always health and wellness classes at local gyms, hospitals and clinics, YMCA’s, maybe your local place of worship may have free classes, so take charge and go to learn. Clearly what you buy and what you cook has huge effects on the rest of your family, so be proactive to make yourself and your whole family healthier.
Go and take charge for a healthier you, and a healthier family!
Yours in Good Health