13 March 2008

Parents Let Healthy Habits Slide, Study Says

Most parents admit to letting healthy habits slide, reports a new national survey from the YMCA of the USA and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Nearly half of parents report that their families don’t eat a balanced diet, and more than three in four say some family members do not practice good health habits.

But as parents let things slide -- while assuming that their children will live longer (or just as long) as their own generation is expected to -- research shows that today’s generation of kids under 18 may be the first in 200 years to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. The main culprit: obesity caused by lack of physical activity and poor nutrition.

Most parents know what behaviors are elements of a healthier lifestyle yet cannot seem to put that knowledge into practice.

  • 91 percent of parents know their family should eat a balanced diet, yet only 56 percent say they do.
  • 93 percent know their family should exercise regularly, yet only 45 percent do.
  • While 59 percent of parents say that everyone in the family knows what they should be doing to lead a healthy lifestyle, only 23 percent say everyone in the family practices good health habits.

Parents say the top five barriers to practicing what they preach:

  • Lack of time (48 percent)
  • Lack of motivation (46 percent)
  • Lack of willpower (45 percent)
  • Lack of money (36 percent)
  • Lack of participation from some members of the family (29 percent)

Do you let things slide more often than you feel comfortable with? What's hardest to manage in keeping your family's eating, exercise and healthy habits on track?

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