Fatherhood, Fat & the Dreaded “DadBod”

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A recent study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health found that males who become fathers experience a bump in their BMI (body mass index).

This study looked at over 10,000 men followed for 20+ years. Compared to the dad group, men who didn’t become dads were actually shown to lose weight over that time. First time dads saw a 2.6% increase in BMI (about 4.4 pounds for a 6 foot tall dad).

Not surprisingly, living with your kids had a greater impact on rising BMI than not living with kids.

So what’s the take away message? Everyone’s metabolism slows as you age, but having kids can exacerbate weight gain due to changes in lifestyle.

Here are a few tips for curbing the pound creep with kids:

  • Kids have smaller stomachs than adults and need to eat more frequently to meet their nutritional needs; don’t stoop to snacking just because the kids are.
  • The kids menu is crap! Kids AND adults should avoid “typical” kids menu foods like chicken nuggets, corn dogs and pizza.
  • Do a color check: if your plate is white and yellow from refined carbs and cheese, work on adding color from fruits and vegetables – a swap that benefits kids and adults alike.
  • Kids can eat a lot because they move a lot: and you should too. Get out with your kids and move and exercise to burn off some of those calories!
  • Stay away from sugary drinks – most kids do not need juice; juice is great if you want to gain weight – try to eat your fruit, not drink it. You’ll save calories and gain fiber in the meantime.

For more information on improving kids (and parents’) food choices, check out the KidsEatRight resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the MyPlate Kids’ Place from choosemyplate.gov.

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