Friday 22 January 2021

Overweight parents pass their bad habits to their children

Fat man with hamburgerChildren with obese parents are more likely to be overweight themselves, according to figures from the public health institute RIVM.

It says 17% of children from families where the parents are overweight are also too heavy, compared with 6% of children with parents who have a healthy weight.

While some of this can be put down to genetics, a lack of proper education about healthy food is proving a problem, professor Jaap Seidell told broadcaster NOS.

‘Today’s youngsters don’t know about healthy eating,’ he said. ‘They find cooking difficult and that’s not surprising considering more and more parents can’t cook either.‘ The result, he says, is that people reach for unhealthy snack foods instead.


Last year, 12% of Dutch 4 to 12-year-olds were classified as overweight and the percentage has been fairly constant for years.

‘It is crucial that we change children’s eating and lifestyle patterns,’ Seidell said. ‘They live in a world which tempts them with unhealthy food and drink.’

Research shows low income and urban families and families with an ethnic minority background are most likely to be overweight.

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