Childhood Obesity Causing Parents to Outlive Their Children

August 25, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that we are now living in a generation where parents are going to out live their children due to childhood obesity. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010.  In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. We have to face it: we are killing our kids with food.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that plate size matters. If you give a child an adult sized plate, they are going to eat adult sized portions. And since our everyday plates have grown over 51% over the past 50+ years, we are setting our children up for morbid obesity. The good news is, according to the study, if you provide smaller, more age appropriate plates to children, they will serve themselves smaller portions. This may not be the only solution but it is an obvious one. It is also an easy change to make.

Of course, as all of us who are parents realize, especially if we have struggled with weight issues ourselves, role modeling for our children is the most important influence. We have to walk the walk. It has to be a family endeavor. Our home needs to become a right-sized food environment, starting with our plates and our children’s plates. Then we need to relearn what appropriate serving sizes are along with making each meal a balanced meal of vegetables and fruits, proteins and grains. A recent study shows that changing eating habits is having a positive effect in some states. We now need to make it a trend for all states.

Habits are not formed over night so changing our habits needs to become a lifestyle approach: one positive change on top of another. For more ideas and resources visit We can no longer accept that chubby kids are cute or that our love should be expressed through making our kids eat more than they need (or want). It is time we stopped killing our kids with food.