Published: Jan. 4, 2013
Updated: Jan. 4, 2013
One of the not-so-joyful aspects of parenthood is weight gain. And the pounds add up with each addition to the family. According to Duke University Medical Center researchers, each child increases obesity risk by 4 percent for dads and 7 percent for moms.
“Kids take time,” said Truls Ostbye, M.D., a professor of community and family medicine at Duke. “Parents who may have been very disciplined before children, now find they have less time to prepare healthy foods, less time for physical activity, and overall less time for themselves.”
Starting healthy habits early is key. “Be mindful what you eat during your pregnancy and right after the baby is born,” Ostbye said. “New moms should start being physically active as soon as they can.” Breastfeeding can also greatly reduce weight gain from pregnancy.
Dads are just as likely as moms to struggle with weight gain. “Time for exercise drops, there are more snacks around the house, and there’s less time to prepare food. These are all contributing factors,” Ostbye said.
To keep parental weight gain at bay, heed these tips from Elisabetta Politi, R.D., nutrition director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center: