You’re Fat?…Blame Grandma

A new study out this week reveals what us Italian kids already know.  If Grandma (Nonna) is looking after you, you’re going to eat…a lot.

The results found kids whose grandparents watched them part-time had a 15% higher risk of being overweight for their age compared with those solely looked after by their parents. 

When my grandmother would babysit, she’d come armed with Little Debbie snack cakes, Pepperidge Farm Apple Turnovers and Haagen Daaz ice cream.  Not to mention the homemade (and fried) chicken cutlets and mounds of Italian salami, cheese and breadsticks.  (And I wonder why I was a chunky kid?) 

The study goes on to suggest that the problem could be solved if grandparents are taught about the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise. 

Here’s the thing though.  Grandmothers and grandfathers see it as their job to spoil their grandkids rotten.  If you don’t have a lot of money, the easiest way to do this is through food.  Besides, to a kid, a backpack full of candy is better than any toy. (That was the way my Opa spoiled us.)  It’s also a passive way to take care of child when age has robbed you of the energy to keep up with them.

So, yeah, maybe enlightening Grandma about the dangers of childhood obesity might help.  But I can already tell you what her response will be, “If I don’t spoil her, who will?  Besides, a little food never hurt anyone.”


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