Monitor on Psychology - October 2011 - (Page 17)

Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity Obese children need ongoing support from adults and peers to drop their extra weight and keep it off, said psychologist Denise Wilfley, PhD, at APA’s 2011 Annual Convention. When parents stock the home with healthy foods and encourage outdoor exercise — and when peers and family members join in the healthy eating — overweight children are most likely to show sustained weight loss over time, her research indicates. This sort of social support is increasingly important, Wilfley said: 17 percent of American children and adolescents are obese, nearly three times the percentage in 1980. It’s no wonder, she said. Unhealthy food is everywhere, and most children who struggle with overweight consume far more calories than their bodies require. They also spend too much time on such sedentary pursuits as television watching. In this environment, it’s important for caregivers and families to offer healthy options, help children make healthy choices and model healthy eating and an active lifestyle, said Wilfley, a professor of psychiatry, medicine, pediatrics and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. “So many parents say, ‘My kid should have willpower to stop eating,’ but that’s not the right approach,” she said. “Part of good parenting is avoiding the food power struggle in the first place by not bringing unhealthy foods into the home. The decision should be Nearly three times as many children are obese today versus in 1980. made at the grocery store, not at the dinner table.” Wilfley’s research backs her stance. were published in 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 298, No. 14). Beyond family and friends, we also In one study she led, 204 7- to 12-year-olds were most likely to need to advocate for healthy changes in our surroundings—at retain drops in body-mass index after two years if they received school and church, for example—and in our culture at large, “social facilitation maintenance treatment,” in which the said Wilfley. children’s parents and friends supported improved habits, such as increased exercise and healthy eating regimens. The findings —B. MURRAY LAW OCTOBER 2011 • MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - October 2011

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
President’s Column
Subtle and stunning slights
From the CEO
Live science on the showroom floor
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark study
Ready, set, mentor
Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an ‘ethical imperative’
Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds
Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why
From toilet to tap: getting people to drink recycled water
What’s ahead for psychology practice?
A push for more accountability is changing the accreditation process
Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity
Popular media’s message to girls
Bullying may contribute to lower test scores
A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
Manatees’ exquisite sense of touch may lead them into dangerous waters
Building a better tomato
How will China’s only children care for their aging parents?
‘Spice’ and ‘K2’: New drugs of abuse now on the market
Many suspects don’t understand their right to remain silent
In Brief
Boosting minority achievement
Where’s the progress?
And social justice for all
Helping new Americans find their way
Segregation’s ongoing legacy
A new way to combat prejudice
Retraining the biased brain
Suppressing the ‘white bears’
How to eat better — mindlessly
Protect your aging brain
Must babies always breed marital discontent?
Outing addiction
Flourish 2051
The danger of stimulants
Keys to making integrated care work
Is technology ruining our kids?
Facebook: Friend or foe?
The promise of Web 3.0
NIMH invests in IT enhanced interventions
Science Directions
Science Directions
PsycAdvocates work to safeguard key programs
The psychology of spending cuts
APA’s strategic plan goes live
Visionary leaders
Vote on bylaws amendments

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011