A nationwide poll shows that only 30 percent of parents follow healthcare provider’s advice on how to keep their children safe and healthy. This can put children at risk and may have long-lasting consequences. Pediatricians note that obesity and diseases in children are associated with parental models and behaviors.
The poll shows that 13 percent of parents follow their pediatrician’s advice occasionally while 31 percent always do so. Socio-economic status plays a role, and parents who earn less than $60,000 a year are less likely to follow recommendations. Hispanic and African American parents are also less likely to follow their pediatrician’s advice (18 and 22 percent, respectively).
The poll shows that parents are more likely to follow recommendations on using car seats for children, going to the dentist, and proper nutrition. On the other hand, parents are less likely to follow advice on watching TV, bed time, and discipline. An important finding is that parents are less likely to follow healthcare provider’s advice when they rate their pediatrician as poor, fair, or good. Dissatisfaction among parents is one of the main reasons why they follow advice occasionally.
Pediatricians, for example, recommend limiting children’s screen time. Screen time is associated with poor academic performance, irregular sleep, overweight, and other problems. It is also linked to attention, social, emotional, and other behavioral problems. Proper nutrition is an important issue. The menu of children should include protein, carbohydrates, fats, and dietary fiber. They should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Poor nutrition habits are linked to obesity, high cholesterol levels, and other health problems. Nutrition experts recommend choosing healthy sources of protein such as eggs, nuts, and lean meat. It is important to limit junk, processed, and fast food. Whole-grain cereals and breads are high in fiber and important minerals. Parents are also advised to steam, grill, and broil products. Many children drink soda and fruit drinks that are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Offer milk, fresh fruit juices, and water instead.