Another Early Father’s Day Gift


The most recent subject of discussion was a list of suggestions for fathering, as formulated by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD. We had not yet gotten to them all.

“Deal with stress positively” is the name of the game. To continue, #5 is about exercise, and then #7 says:

Spend active time with kids: gymnastics, hiking, throwing a ball, or going to the park.

As an unnamed source puts it, “Soon enough, the day will come when the last thing your kid wants is to be seen in public with you. So enjoy the parks and playgrounds while you can.”

The importance of exercise can never be overemphasized. Dr. Colin Higgs has listed 15 benefits to be gained from exercise, and only one of them is “promote healthy weight.” But wait, stay tuned, and stick around for the hidden secret. Here it is: The other 14 benefits of exercise work to promote healthy weight indirectly, by routes that may be circuitous, but are often successful in bringing about needed change.

Extra points for…

All the 15 benefits of exercise apply equally to children and adults. Be an extra-good dad, and remember, when doing athletic-type things with a kid, it’s not a competition. You’re not there to win or shame the kid or create some kind of ordeal that will make them hate exercise forever. And it doesn’t have to be circus-clown fun, if you’re not that guy. Just please keep it light.

Another part of dealing with stress positively is often difficult for grownups, namely, getting enough sleep. Being mad at it rarely helps. Take a look in the mirror and see what part you play in that. Maybe it will be necessary to quit caffeine, or make some other lifestyle change. Figure out how to get better sleep for your own sake, and for your kids’ sake too.

Dad in the kitchen

Jacobsen says, “Give Mom a feeding break,” and that does not mean go to the nearest fast-food joint to pick up the day’s special. No, the concept is for Dad to actually get out there in the kitchen and cook. A dad could take an elementary-level cooking class that teaches the basics. (Butter burns. Eggs keep on cooking themselves after you think they are done, so aim to undercook them just a little.) A dad could specialize in one super-healthful, super-delicious sandwich.

One of the nice things about a complicated food processor is that a dad might be tempted to use it, because it is in some way related to lawnmowers and other machines that dads stereotypically bond with. It’s possible to hide a lot of veggies in a fresh smoothie, and feel the satisfaction of a technologically-oriented job well done.

Dads, take part in feeding little kids, and chalk it up to good PR. Like all small, helpless creatures, babies remember who feeds them. It could be the start of a lifetime relationship!

Oh, and help with the cleanup, please.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “7 Simple Ways Dads Can Positively Influence Their Kids’ Health,”, 06/17/11
Photo credit: sam74100/123RF Stock Photo

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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