We know that Will and Kate’s child will be privileged. But here’s something we can also predict with great accuracy: If the kiddo will be fat.
How? A study in the journal PLOS ONE recently found that the formula used in this online calculator accurately predicts whether or not an infant will be overweight or obese as an adolescent and an adult. The calculation factors in the mother and father’s body mass index (BMI), the mother’s work status, the number of family members, and the infant’s weight at birth, and whether or not mum smokes.
His Infancy has a pretty good shot so far. Parental weight status is the greatest predictor of a child’s obesity later in life, the researchers say, and neither Will or Kate have problems in that department. One study from the U.K. found that about 77 percent of a child’s BMI is controlled by heritability. In other words, if you look like Henry VIII, Henry IX will likely follow suit.
That is, unless you take action. Your kids don’t only inherit your DNA—they inherit your eating habits, your attitude toward exercise, and pretty much everything you do, whether or not you know you’re doing it. Follow the tips below to make sure they pick up on the right behaviors. And if you don't have a royal body, don't worry: You can reshape every muscle in your body in 82 days with Speed Shred, the new follow-along DVD series from Men’s Health!
In the past, kids came home from school and had a nice cold glass of milk; today, they're just as likely to toss back a sugary juice box or soda loaded with empty calories. Instead, offer water mixed with a dash of 100 percent fruit juice for flavor.
BONUS TIP: For simple steps to live a longer and healthier life, check out Dr. Oz's 25 Greatest Health Tips Ever.
One in five American kids between the ages of 9 and 13 gets no exercise at all, according to the CDC. But 7 minutes of vigorous activity a day is all it takes for kids to have a lower body mass index and lower blood pressure, finds recent research from the University of Manitoba. Give your child plenty of chances to burn off energy every day by playing Pirates vs. Jedis in the yard or setting up an indoor obstacle course on rainy days. And try walking, scootering, or biking places together instead of piling into the SUV. Want even more ideas? Click here for 7 Fun Ways to Be Active with Your Kids.
One study of 5-year-olds found that for every hour watched above the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommended limit of 2 hours a day, a child had a 7 percent greater risk of being obese by age 30. "It's not just the sedentary time—it's all those commercials for food," says Sandra Hassink, M.D., director of the weight management clinic at the DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. A study in Pediatrics found that nearly 98 percent of food ads viewed by kids between ages 2 and 11 were for junk high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium. Says Hassink, "The counter-programming by the ads is going to be much more powerful than anything you can do, unless you're a cartoon character."
SENTENCED TO THE CHAIR: Sitting doesn’t hurt only your kids—it could be killing you, regardless of how much you work out. Learn the remedy for the sitting epidemic in Is Your Office Chair Killing You?
"Saying you can have dessert if you finish all your vegetables gives unhealthy foods a higher status," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., a pediatrician in Atlanta and coauthor of Food Fights. Instead, award one point every time your child tries a new food. Ten points earns a small toy, 30 equals a movie of their choice, and 75 a kid-approved vacation destination. They'll see foreign foods as an opportunity, Shu adds. And because you dole out the points, you retain the leverage.
YOUR NEW SHOPPING LIST! There are more than 45,000 options in the average supermarket. Some will wreck your waistline; some will shrink it. The easiest way to choose: Go ahead and put anything from our newly updated list of the 125 Best Supermarket Foods in your shopping cart—and watch the pounds melt away!
It's great to have someone else do the cooking and wash the dishes, but if you use the local pasta joint or fast-food chain as your family caterer, your kid's health will suffer: One study found that when children eat out, they consume nearly twice as many calories as when they eat at home, plus more fat, sugar, and carbs. A meal at home with the family around the table has the opposite effect: Kids eat one and a half times as many fruits and vegetables as when they eat by themselves, and they tend to continue to make such healthy choices throughout the day, according to a Harvard study. Kid staples—mac and cheese, fries, nuggets—are typically loaded with fat and calories. But they don’t have to be. Try one of these 6 Quick Family-Friendly Recipes tonight!
THE BEST BODIES EVER! Find out who made our list of The 100 Fittest Men of All-Time.
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Research and writing by Marisa Cohen, Paul Kita, and Amy Rushlow