OBESITY PREVENTION; Calories Count

Article excerpt

When it comes to preventing childhood obesity, calories matter. Unfortunately, not enough parents think so.

That's the conclusion of the Dietary Guidelines Alliance, which found that many parents lack a basic understanding of how calories affect weight.

Only 14 percent, for example, say that they are consistently paying attention to how many calories their families consume, while only 9 percent say that it would be easy to do on a regular basis.

The findings were released recently by the International Food Information Council, a nonprofit organization based in Washington.

The timing is right, as well, since there are various projects combating the nation's obesity problem. For instance, First Lady Michelle Obama has a Let's Move! campaign aimed at childhood obesity.

Here is how parents ranked their family's diet priorities, in order:

- Serving nutrient-rich foods and beverages.

- Making an effort to balance foods with exercise.

- Paying attention to the amount of foods and drinks consumed.

- Managing higher-calorie foods and drinks in a way that doesn't impact weight.

- Counting calories came dead last.

The good news, though, is that this emphasis on preventing childhood obesity is, at least, forcing parents to gain some awareness about what their children should be eating - and the fact that serving nutritious foods and ensuring that children get exercise ranked at the top. …