Everyone knows there’s no shortage of information when it comes to healthy eating, weight loss and obesity. But when it comes to obese children it’s a whole other story. With so many fast food options on the market nowadays, kids opting to spend more time indoors with video games, tablets and computers, and everyone trying to make it all work with busy schedules threatening to burst at the seams, it’s no wonder our kids are a little pudgier than they used to be.
Well according to a new study, it could be even more than that, and obesity could actually be wired into some children’s brains. The study, which was presented Tuesday at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago, indicates that for some children, their brains are wired to make it harder than most to resist food.
According to the study author, Dr. Pilar Dies-Suarez, they looked at 30 kids between the ages of 6 and 10. Specifically, they wanted to know what happened to parts of the brain when food smells were in the air. In children of average weight, the areas of the brain related to impulsive behaviour did not activate when faced with such temptation. They did, however, for children with obesity.
The bottom line? It could mean that some kids just can’t help themselves when it comes to eating. Here’s the catch though. The study used smells of chocolate and onion, and in both cases the brain lit up. Which means that for those children who — for the sake of argument — have less control, don’t necessarily only have less control over junk food.
So what’s a parent to do? Rather than stock up on unhealthy snacks like chips, fruit snacks, high-fat granola bars and the like, keep plenty of fresh-cut raw veggies and fruits available in the fridge and let them go nuts. Cheese snacks, yogurts without extra corn syrup or fructose and whole grain crackers are also a good idea. Quick, easy and yummy.
Which is a win-win for you, because whether your kid can avoid it or not, at least you have the peace of mind to know that when that hunger monster hits, at least they’re putting something good into their little bodies.
Plus it means you’ve got plenty of healthy snack options too. After all: monkey see, monkey do.