Lead by example to get your kids to eat right, experts say

ST. LOUIS -- How do you convince parents to eat right so their kids will too?

The answer is on an interactive CD-ROM that will make its debut at the annual national Parents as Teachers conference in St. Louis from April 26 to 29.

The CD-ROM will guide parent educators from across the country in ways to teach adults that the best way to encourage their young children to choose healthy foods is by eating right themselves. It was produced by the Saint Louis University Obesity Prevention Center and Parents as Teachers National Center.

"Small changes to your diet can make a big difference," says Susie Nanney, manager of the project for Saint Louis University and a dietitian. "We didn't have to clear the cupboard and replace foods with only broccoli to reach the High Five, Low Fat goals."

"High Five" refers to the goal of eating five fruits and vegetables a day to fight dietary-related cancers. The nutrition program is designed to encourage African-Americans, who are at a disproportionately higher risk of developing cancer, to eat more fruits and veggies and reduce the amount of fat in their daily diets so they will stay healthy.

The four-year public health initiative at Saint Louis University School of Public Health is funded by a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. Debra Haire-Joshu, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and director of the Saint Louis University Obesity Prevention Center, said the project examined the effect of parental modeling on eating patterns in African-American families and found that parents who participated in High Five, Low Fat significantly lowered their intake of dietary fat and ate more fruits and vegetables.

"This information goes beyond the interest of local public health professionals. The effect will be magnified above and beyond what we found in St. Louis. Parents as Teachers parent educators can take it to the next level, and deliver the information to families acro

Contact: Nancy Solomon
Saint Louis University

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