Teaching your kids healthy eating habits is more important than you think

The childhood obesity epidemic is no joke. We've got some pretty big odds to face in our community: Hispanic-American adults are 1.2 times more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic whites. The numbers in children are even worse, with Latino children being 1.3-1.6 times more likely to be overweight and teens being 1.1-1.3 times more likely to be overweight than their non-Hispanic peersaccording to the Office of Minority Health.

Well, I'm a young adult Latina and I care about healthy eating. Sometimes when I look at the food that my family eats, I feel like I'm the only person on the whole planet trying to be healthy--but it seems like that might be changing. A new study proves that when it comes to Hispanic "millenials"--as in those of us born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s--attitudes around nutrition and dieting seem to be changing.

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Insights recently released by MTV's TR3S reveal that Hispanics 18-29 are more likely to consider the importance of the nutritional value in the foods they eat (36% Hispanic, 33% non-Hispanic) and they're also more likely to be trying to lose weight by dieting most of the time (29% Hispanic, 23% non-Hispanic). Unfortunately, at the same time, our cultural differences may actually be setting us back.

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The problem comes down to SOME of our food choices. Although we are more focused on nutrition and dieting than our non-Hispanic peers, we're also more likely to buy full-fat dairy products, sweetened cereals and non-diet regular soda—with foreign-born Hispanics doing more damage than US-born Hispanics.

So why is all of this happening? We are worrying about the food we put in our body at the same time as we're buying junk, and then subsequently spending our time dieting? For me, it definitely goes back to some of the things I learned at home. Unlearning those bad habits and fostering the healthy habits I've gained as an adult has been HARD. The good news, though, is that at least we are improving. Hopefully, by the time the kids that are children and teens now catch up, even MORE Latinos (both young and old) will be eating more nutritiously.  

Do you make an effort to eat healthier foods? How do you teach your kids to eat healthy? Share with us in the comments below!

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Topics: healthy eating  latino health  junk food  nutrition  weight loss