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Do you think parents should teach their kids how to count calories?

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Replies

  • FreyasRebirth
    FreyasRebirth Posts: 514 Member
    Yes, children should know how to count calories. It is math, essentially just like teaching them how to shop (calories by weight, price by weight). However, knowing how to do something isn't a synonym with actually doing it.
  • Colt1835
    Colt1835 Posts: 447 Member
    I think teenagers should be taught how to log the food that they eat and how to add calories or subtract them in a healthy way if they get too thin or fat. Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? I wouldn't constantly have my kids counting calories because they are kids who should play and not get stressed out, but they will be adults one day who may need to know how to properly log their food to avoid becoming obese, so surely I will teach them how to do it before I release them into the wild.

    My job as a parent is to love my children and help them become adults. If I purposefully keep helpful information from them then I have failed. I was obese my entire childhood and just recently hit a healthy weight. I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.
  • cturner1967
    cturner1967 Posts: 3 Member
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    ...Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? ... I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.

    Thank you Colt1835! It's a vicious cycle to start them on when they are just children. And of course, once they are obese and ignorant - society judges and looks down on them. TRAP.

  • StealthHealth
    StealthHealth Posts: 2,417 Member
    Since a calorie is a unit of measurement just like a centimeter, or a gram then your children will be taught this in school as part of their science education.

    In the UK this is taught before pupils have a chance to drop specialised science education (basic science education is mandatory). The use of calories in context to diet is taught in food technology, prior to the pupils having the option to drop that subject.

    So, in the UK at least, whether you like it of not, kids are taught about calories.

    Television and online adverts often mention the calories of a certain food so children are exposed to that concept on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

    So, for me personally, since all that miss/information is already out there I think it makes sense, as and when the subject crops up, to have a conversation with your kids about calories, foods, activities, balanced diets, and whatever else crops up along the way.

  • ladyhusker39
    ladyhusker39 Posts: 1,408 Member
    Yes, parents should teach their kids how to count calories. Just like they should teach their kids about proper nutrition and to be physically active. I don't think it should be mandatory that they weigh and log everything they eat, or to pump iron at the gym but it's an incredibly important and useful concept to understand and incorporate into their life. It's also important to be age appropriate as with anything we teach them.
  • Colt1835
    Colt1835 Posts: 447 Member
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    ...Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? ... I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.

    Thank you Colt1835! It's a vicious cycle to start them on when they are just children. And of course, once they are obese and ignorant - society judges and looks down on them. TRAP.

    You can know all about calories and still wind up obese.

    Sure you can, but why limit information that might prevent that? You can know all about road safety and still get hit by a buss; should we not teach kids to look both ways before crossing the street?

    It's simple math. They are required to do more complicated math in school. They can handle it.
  • finny11122
    finny11122 Posts: 8,436 Member
    Not count calories but teach them about healthy food .
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,523 Member
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    ...Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? ... I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.

    Thank you Colt1835! It's a vicious cycle to start them on when they are just children. And of course, once they are obese and ignorant - society judges and looks down on them. TRAP.

    You can know all about calories and still wind up obese.

    Sure you can, but why limit information that might prevent that? You can know all about road safety and still get hit by a buss; should we not teach kids to look both ways before crossing the street?

    It's simple math. They are required to do more complicated math in school. They can handle it.

    No one said anything about limiting the information. I agree that they should know basic nutrition concepts that are age appropriate.
  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,483 MFP Moderator
    Like many things in life I don't feel there is a "one size fits all" answer.

    I think nutrition should definitely be talked about at home, but it needs to be done in a way that is age appropriate. I think something more along the "my plate" visual works better than discussing calories with young children to try to get them to incorporate colorful foods as some part of their intake. Then the discussion can deepen from there as they get older and can handle more information.

    I believe calorie counting can be a very valuable tool, but it also easily leads to over restriction and obsession. When it comes to teens I definitely believe they are cognitively able to handle calorie counting, but, are they emotionally? I think this is where parents need to pay attention to and know their child. If I had a teen that displayed body image issues or a tendency to obsess over things I would be very reluctant to introduce them to calorie counting regardless of weight. If I had a confident teen who maybe wanted to get more into nutritional tracking because of the educational opportunity and see if they are eating in a well rounded way then I would support that.
  • edwill3456
    edwill3456 Posts: 59 Member
    I been counting calories since I was 16. Srs. I am 19 now and still counting.
  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,483 MFP Moderator
    edited June 2017
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    ...Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? ... I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.

    Thank you Colt1835! It's a vicious cycle to start them on when they are just children. And of course, once they are obese and ignorant - society judges and looks down on them. TRAP.

    You can know all about calories and still wind up obese.

    Even if it does not prevent obesity, if taught well and correctly it can provide a very useful tool if they wind up needing it. I was taught about calories very effectively and I did end up obese, but once I decided to do something about it I did not jump from fad diet to another. I headed straight to calories. My first attempt at weight loss ended up being a successful one because I had the knowledge and the tools to distinguish between proper and bad information.

    Just to build on this a little bit, part of (IMO) being a successful parent is providing your kids with what they will need to be successful in life. But, you cant control them. Give them the tools, it's up to them to use them. They probably won't in their younger years because they know everything, but maybe they will come back to them later?
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,523 Member
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    ...Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? ... I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.

    Thank you Colt1835! It's a vicious cycle to start them on when they are just children. And of course, once they are obese and ignorant - society judges and looks down on them. TRAP.

    You can know all about calories and still wind up obese.

    Even if it does not prevent obesity, if taught well and correctly it can provide a very useful tool if they wind up needing it. I was taught about calories very effectively and I did end up obese, but once I decided to do something about it I did not jump from fad diet to another. I headed straight to calories. My first attempt at weight loss ended up being a successful one because I had the knowledge and the tools to distinguish between proper and bad information.

    Key point right there. Not many seem to be able to do that for themselves much less teach a young mind how to properly and successfully.
  • Penthesilea514
    Penthesilea514 Posts: 1,189 Member
    Colt1835 wrote: »
    ...Why wait until they are adults and obese to say "oh yeah, you should totally try counting your calories. Sorry guess I should have brought that up a little sooner"? ... I wish some one would have taught me more about the importance of CICO.

    Thank you Colt1835! It's a vicious cycle to start them on when they are just children. And of course, once they are obese and ignorant - society judges and looks down on them. TRAP.

    You can know all about calories and still wind up obese.

    Even if it does not prevent obesity, if taught well and correctly it can provide a very useful tool if they wind up needing it. I was taught about calories very effectively and I did end up obese, but once I decided to do something about it I did not jump from fad diet to another. I headed straight to calories. My first attempt at weight loss ended up being a successful one because I had the knowledge and the tools to distinguish between proper and bad information.

    Key point right there. Not many seem to be able to do that for themselves much less teach a young mind how to properly and successfully.

    Yeah, as a "not" mother I want to say that this is the approach I would take but I don't know how to teach them "well and correctly". I wasn't taught these things growing up and I had to learn a lot along the way. Not saying it can't be done, I just don't feel like I know how to do it in the first place.
  • Ironandwine69
    Ironandwine69 Posts: 2,432 Member
    No.
    But it depends on what age we are talking about.