Parents are taking their kids to classes that preach tough love in an attempt to battle childhood obesity, and it's working.
According to Daily Mail, about a decade ago, classes that taught parents to be a little stricter opened up in the UK city of Leeds. The classes, which teach a style called the Henry approach, cost around $65U USD, which is £50 in the UK, and while it may seem like a steep price for a parenting class, it works. The results have been so strong that the city's obesity levels from 9.4 percent to 8.8 percent in four-to-five-year-olds as of 2016. To compare to the rest of England, the rate has not changed.
The program spans two months and pushes more "authoritative" parenting where mothers and fathers tell children what they will eat and not being able to leave until they eat their vegetables. This is a contrast to more permissive parenting strategies that give children more freedom.
Daily Mail says some things they preach is how to word requests properly. This approach directs children instead of giving them too much choice. For instance, instead of asking "what would you like to eat?" ask "do you want carrots or broccoli", or instead of asking if they're ready for bed, tell them it's bedtime and ask if they want to read a story before then.
While the project has worked in one region, it's yet to be implemented across the UK. The minds behind this parenting strategy want to see this expand outside of Leeds to see if this style is more than just a one-off situation.
Childhood obesity is considered a big issue to the World Health Organization (WHO). It's such a danger that they've outlined strategies for parents to reduce screentime while increasing physical activity. They say that children under three should have no time on tablets and in front of the TV. Instead, they say kids should have varying amounts of physical play depending on age. Kids over three can have more screentime, however, the less amount of time the better. For that age group, WHO says children should have about 180 minutes with 60 minutes of more intense physical activity.