Being a parent and the negative impact on the physical activities and dietary intake habits
Mommies tend to be saggy
If a baby shows up into your life, you already know that you are not the person making the rules anymore. Your baby becomes the boss; he shifts the centre of your universe. It’s exciting, interesting and fun being a parent, but also consuming and overwhelming. Sometimes you are so absorbed of the idea of knowing your baby safe, in good health, loved, nurtured and warm, that you tend to neglect everything else. You, including.
“Your abdominal muscles are lacking tonicity and your skin looks kind of saggy. When is the last time when you did some physical exercises?” This is the question my personal doctor addressed to me to my last physical routine check-up. I felt embarrassed and I immediately excused myself by saying that my life as a mom seems to me filled with a LOT of physical activity. Of course, the doctor did not bite the bait… Running after my toddler and carrying him around whenever he feels tired or lazy, is not exactly a form of physical exercise that can keep me in perfect shape.
Unfortunately, I am not the only mother in this world who lacks physical activity. Most of the parents are. Caring for young children is time-consuming and stressful, so parents choose to sacrifice taking care of their own health in exchange for prioritizing their children’s health. From the physical health point of view, parenthood is associated with a number of negative outcomes. It is perfectly true and proven by several medical researches that being a parent has a negative impact on the physical activities and dietary intake habits.
Young mothers have poorer dietary intake and higher BMI compared with women without children. They differed significantly from women without children in intake of total energy, percent saturated fat, vegetables, and sugar sweetened beverages, but not in fruit, dairy, whole grains, calcium, or fiber intake. Moms do not have enough time to take care of their personal habits of eating healthy. They are struggling between eating foods high in simple carbs and saturated fats striving for energy to be able to keep up the pace with their children, and eating healthy foods like fruit and vegetables to provide a convincing model of healthy dietary intake for their babies. Mothers present an increased risk for weight gain because they eat more often palatable foods children prefer (like sweets, chips aso). Because the feeding, the nurturing and the overall care of the babies are primarily mother’s responsibilities, fathers are not that affected. Young adult fathers have similar BMIs and dietary intake compared with non-fathers.
In terms of physical activities, things are pretty much the same for both mothers and fathers. Possible explanations for lower physical activity levels among parents versus non-parents is that parents may have difficulties finding time to engage in physical activity. Many parents find caring for young children to be physically and emotionally demanding, and therefore may either not be able to find the time to exercise or, if they have time, they are often too tired to do so. Same as me, parents have many short bursts of physical activity when chasing or playing with their child, but this is not as efficient as exercising in an organized manner every group of muscles.
We are parents and is hard to find enough time for physical work out and eating correctly and healthy, but we should change this. Healthy eating habits and exercising regularly are positive models of behaviors for children. And we all know that is much easier to teach a child a new thing by showing it, than by explaining it in an abstract manner. ‘What Mommy do, worth as much as one million of her advises’.