Shaping Your Child’s Health

A new study at the University of California, San Diego, found that children who were exposed to a particular strain of adenovirus, a type of virus that causes respiratory infections and colds, were 4 times more likely to be obese than children who were not exposed. This research implies that childhood obesity could be triggered by a contagious infection – you might “catch” obesity in the same way you’d catch a cough or cold. On Friday, October 8, 2010, the show will feature a new segment called the Pulse. I’ll be joined by an expert panel to assess the implications of this research.

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A new study at the University of California, San Diego, found that children who were exposed to a particular strain of adenovirus, a type of virus that causes respiratory infections and colds, were 4 times more likely to be obese than children who were not exposed. This research implies that childhood obesity could be triggered by a contagious infection – you might “catch” obesity in the same way you’d catch a cough or cold. On Friday, October 8, 2010, the show will feature a new segment called the Pulse. I’ll be joined by an expert panel to assess the implications of this research.

Although valuable, this study doesn’t change much about what we already know; that genetics, fast food, and lack of exercise is linked to the growing prevalence of childhood obesity. This information is far more substantial than the idea that Junior could catch the “obesity bug” on the playground – because as parents, we shape our children’s eating habits. Healthy living is a learned behavior. This means parents should not only provide a balanced diet to fuel their children’s growing bodies and minds, but also model good nutritional practices as an example. Your child’s brain functions like a mirror; they reflect you.

Your lifestyle is a crucial part of the environment that will shape every aspect of your child’s development. It’s an intimidating realization, but the good news is that you have help. Now more than ever parents have a wealth of information to guide them along their child’s diaper and toy-littered road of destiny. When I was growing up in the 1960s, my mom referred to Dr. Spock’s parenting books like Baby and Child Care and Feeding Your Baby and Child. Fifty years later, Dr. Roizen and I offer a modernization; we are pleased to announce our new book, YOU: Raising a Child.

In it, we explore how to create the best possible environment for your children. We address common medical issues, effective parenting styles, and biological and intellectual development. We provide accessible advice on teaching your child to actively resolve conflicts, learn from mistakes, and importantly, to enjoy playing! It’s impossible to protect your child from every type of illness or problem, but it is possible to navigate through these challenges with confidence and poise, leading your child to a healthy adult life.

Blog written by Mehmet Oz, MD
America’s Doctor and three-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning host of the Daytime Emmy-winning The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz is also...