Thursday, March 4, 2010

I agree

Richards mom is also a dietitian and she sent this to me. I totally agree. Ellyn Satter has some great books on child nutrition.

To: First Lady Michelle Obama
Re: Child obesity: Help without harming
From: Ellyn Satter

As a Family Therapist and Registered Dietitian, in the 45 years I have been helping people with eating/feeding/weight issues, I have made most of the mistakes. I had the luxury of erring in the privacy of my clinical office. You don’t have that luxury. Please accept my insights about what works—and what doesn’t—with respect to addressing child obesity and, more importantly, achieving our mutual goal of letting children be all they can be.

Don’t talk about child obesity. Research shows that children who are labeled overweight or obese feel flawed in every way–not smart, not physically capable and not worthy. Parents who fear obesity hesitate to gratify their child’s hunger for fear s/he will get fat. Such labeling is not only counterproductive, it is unnecessary. From birth, child obesity can be prevented—and treated—by maintaining a division of responsibility (DOR) in feeding: Parents do the what, where, when of feeding and children do the how much and whether of eating. The DOR is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA and its programs (WIC, School Nutrition, Child Care Food Program), Public Health, Head Start, and CDC, among others.

Provide, don’t deprive. You are on the right track in emphasizing programs that support food security for children and families. Children who are given regular, reliable, and rewarding meals and snacks eat as much as they need and grow appropriately. On the other hand, children who fear going hungry eat as much as they can whenever they can and get fatter than nature intended them to be. But don’t emphasize right and wrong foods. Stipulating "healthy" food is not part of the DOR. Expecting people to eat what they should rather than what they want creates a barrier to family meals. Instead, encourage family meals. When parents get the meal habit, sooner or later they get around to including fruits and vegetables.

Optimize feeding and parenting, and let children be children. Children are entitled to be free from worry about eating, moving, and weight. Once they establish the critically important structure of meals and snacks, adults must trust children to learn to eat the food they eat, eat as much as they need, and grow in the way that is genetically appropriate for them.

Copyright © 2010 by Ellyn Satter. Published at

Rights to reproduce: As long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, and you include the entire copyright statement, you may reproduce this article. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to

Please recommend Family Meals Focus to your family and friends.

If you like, point your browser to where you'll find an easy sign-up form.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in Family Meals Focus is intended to inform our readers about issues relating to feeding dynamics in general and family meals in particular. It is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional. Copyright 2009 Ellyn Satter


Hip Heiner Fun said...

I agree 100%. But, I also think that this can apply to my situation. Where I have a child who won't eat. Or I feel isn't eating enough and worry about her getting enough calories and nutrition that she needs. But, all I can do is encourage her to eat and leave it up to her to do the rest. Thanks for sharing that Nicole!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with your family & friends. I hope any who may be talking about child obesity for political gain or with misguided strategies will listen to Ellyn Satter. LV MOM

Ellyn said...

Thanks for posting this. It helps and is so important for our kids.

BTW, I think Your Betty Crocker is a hoot.

BTW, to Hip Heiner Fun, take a look at

Ellyn Satter

Puffer Love said...

I agree!! I let Miki and Xilone eat an entire bag on Oreos if they want!! lol just kidding. My kids are so weird though..they LOVE boiled wheat and lentils...I know...weird! but if they'll eat it I'll feed it!!
P.S. I'll have Miki wear the goggles on Wen. she'll love it!

Richard and Nicole said...

Ellyn - thanks for responding...I have given your book out several times to any mom that is freaked out about feeding her kid. (how to get your kid to eat but not too much).

lizzo- your gals are crazy, i crack up when i think about miki getting yogurt in the middle of the night...

sis- i think you're doing great with chloe - its amazing she isn't addicted to eating seeing her fathers heritage....(;