Who Needs More Exercise? You Do Mom and Dad

There exist numerous jokes and jabs at the expense of new parents about “baby weight” and an ever-declining level of physical fitness après baby. This goes for the mother, as well as the father. I can attest that I tacked on a few pounds of “sympathy weight” from my wife’s pregnancy that remained well into his toddler years. Generally speaking, many new parents, when overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking care of a newborn, tend to overlook and neglect their own physical wellbeing. This most often comes in the form of the abandoned exercise regime.

A new report from the Journal Pediatrics titled, Are Parents of Young Children Practicing Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviors? reveals that, in fact, many parents are not. The analysis, performed at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, of the eating and exercise habits of more than 1,500 young adults (average age was 25) found moms and dads with kids 5 and younger exercised less than similar people without kids (not exactly a surprise there). Mothers reported a greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, total energy, and percent saturated fat compared with women without children, and both mothers and fathers had lower amounts of physical activity compared with non-parents. Overall, the moms in the study consumed an average of 2,360 calories compared with 1,992 calories for the similar women without kids, and in general, moms and dads alike got about one-third less exercise than their unencumbered counterparts. The University of Minnesota researchers conclude that “parenthood may be contributing to poorer dietary intake and higher BMI” in young moms, and less than ideal physical activity in both parents.

The researchers implore pediatricians to urge new parents to watch their weight, eat a more nutritionally balanced diet, and carve out time for exercise. The thinking is that bad habits like eating junk food and not exercising can become habitual (as well as problematic overtime) and provide a negative influence to young children who watch their parents downing liters Mountain Dew and day napping on the couch.

What have you done to counteract the post-child spread and inertia?


Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

KS Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Ruth P.
Ruth P7 years ago

Wow, I'm glad that advice from medical practitioners has finally eradicated child neglect and abuse. That's why these idiots think there's time for this nonsense, right?

It's a stupid study. Of course they eat more and "exercise" less - they're busy. Just because they "exercise" less, it doesn't actually mean they are less active. They are caring for children! You can't do that sat on your arse - well, unless you've worn yourself out doing meaningless exercise and have starved yourself to the point where you have no energy to actually parent your children any more.

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

Thank you Eric.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado7 years ago

Yes, we all need our daily exercises.

John S.
Past Member 7 years ago

Thanks, hope people listen to the advice.

Tabitha L.
Tabitha C7 years ago

good read

Mary M.
Mary M7 years ago

great to know

Rutilia Bautista
Rutilia Bautista7 years ago

I just heard about this, this morning and the first thing that comes to my mind is parents nor children need to have the junk food in the house. It is not good for anyone and responsible parents should be more active doing things with their children, like going to the park, instead of just plopping down on the sofa in front of the TV or video games. This would solve the problem of overweight parents and children. It's actually that simple. Common sense folks.

Gabriela B.
Gabriela B7 years ago

I've heard that some parents like to eat all the meals their children leave on their plates. You know, in an automatical way - like "it will be easier to clean the dishes if I'm going to finish this".