TIME Nutrition

Most Parents of Obese Children Think Their Kids Are ‘Just Right’

Getty Images

Because they're compared to their peers, not to medical standards

Parents of obese kids often don’t recognize that their kids are overweight, and the vast majority think their obese children are “just right,” according to a new study.

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center studied two groups of young children: a group of 3,839 kids from 1988-1994, and another group of 3,151 kids from 2007-2012, and published the findings in the journal Childhood Obesity. Similar findings were reported last year in the journal Pediatrics.

The NYU researchers found that even if their kids were overweight or obese, the vast majority of parents were likely to see no problem with their child’s weight. In the earlier group, 97% of parents of overweight boys and 88% of parents of overweight girls said their kids were “about the right weight.” In the more recent group, 95% of parents of overweight boys and 93% of parents of overweight girls thought so, too. The children in the later group were significantly more obese than the kids in the earlier group, but their parents were just as likely to see them as healthy.

In both groups, misperception about overweight kids being “just about the right weight” was most common among African-American and low-income parents, and the misperception decreased as family income rose. Researchers said this may be because lower-income parents are comparing their kids to their peers, who are also more likely to be overweight, rather than to medical standards.

Researchers warned that the lack of awareness of childhood obesity could contribute to the problem, because if parents don’t recognize that their children are overweight, then they won’t be able to help their kids.

TIME Parenting

Why Millennials Are Giving Their Kids Weird Names

And because Millennials love small brands

Every time the Social Security Administration releases the list of most popular baby names in the U.S. for the prior year, observers of the human species try to figure out what the significance of the most popular names are. This is not so surprising since we are the only species on the planet that gets to name its offspring (as far as we know.) Some of these explanations are more speculative than others, but none feels completely right.

Now that this year’s list is out, name-watchers have noted that J-names are getting unpopular while names starting with vowels are hot. Names that end in a plosive (Pete, Jack, Kate) are less popular than names that end in a fricative or a vowel. People seem to be losing interest in New Testament names (Mary is thin on the ground and Michael, who had a 45-year reign as male baby name No. 1, is trending down.) But Old Testament names (Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Abigail and Daniel) are enjoying a spike.

Now comes Goldman Sachs, pointing out in a study of Millennials, that even the most popular names these days aren’t anywhere near as popular as those of yore. Twenty five years ago, 3% of American babies were called Michael, and 2.3% were called Jessica. But Michael and Jessica, who are now of childbearing age, are giving their kids names that fewer kids share. The most popular names in 2014, Noah and Emma, accounted for only 1% of babies each. The report points out that you’d need to add all the Noahs, Jacobs, Liams and Masons together to get the percentage of Michaels there were in 1980.

“We turn to the history of baby names to possibly provide a window into evaluating parents’ expression towards brands,” says the Goldman Sachs report, which identifies two main reasons for the wider spread of baby-naming: “greater diversity among parents and … an appetite for more differentiated and unique brands (which we believe names are).”

That’s right: parents want to give their kids a different name not so they can call it out on the playground and not have five kids look at them, and not so that Olivia (second most popular girl’s name) will be the only Liv in her class, and not so that if she loses her towel at camp everybody will know whose it is, but because they want their kid to have a unique brand. Millennials are disruptive; they prefer small brands. And they don’t want their kid associated with any monolithic name that might dominate the cut-throat baby name market. (Tip: get in early and invest in Gannon and Aranza now.)

Goldman Sachs somewhat gingerly admits it doesn’t know everything about Millennial parents: “…their attitude towards parenthood strikes us as being more idealistic and aspirational,” than their forebears, the report notes. “Having said this, we acknowledge that we are still in the infancy of this theme and are likely to be introduced to changes in values, companies and business models as it develops.”

Just to prove disruption isn’t limited to Millennials, this Gen Xer has put both her kids names in this story. See if you can spot them (hint; they’re lower case.)

 

TIME Television

Watch John Oliver Use Mother’s Day to Slam the Lack of Paid Maternity Leave

"You deserve the very best moms, you're just not going to get it."

To celebrate Mother’s Day, or as John Oliver called it on Last Week Tonight, “the only day of the year we don’t look at our phones and go ‘yeahhh not now, mom,'” Oliver called the United States to task for its failure to provide mothers with paid maternity leave.

According to Oliver, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries that do not give any paid maternity leave. While the federal Family Medical Leave Act guarantees women won’t lose their job if they take 12 weeks of unpaid leave, it only applies to women who are full-time employees in medium and large-sized companies. Freelancers, part-time, and contract employees and employees at smaller companies are not covered.

For Oliver, this is unacceptable treatment of mothers. “You deserve the very best moms, you’re just not going to get it.” In Oliver’s opinion, it’s especially appalling, because when California enacted a paid maternity leave law, they found the results overall to be akin to having hockey on in the back of the bar—”it’s not hurting anyone and a few people are really into it.”

This Mother’s Day Oliver encourages passing meaningful legislation instead of another Hooters gift card.

Read next: Why We Need More Mothers at Work

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Parenting

See the Most Popular Baby Names for 2014

Baby
Evan Kafka—Getty Images

Charlotte made the Top 10 list for the first time ever

Noah and Emma were the most popular baby names of 2014, followed by a few newcomers to the top 10 list, like James and Charlotte.

The Social Security Administration released on Friday its annual list of the country’s ten most popular baby names for boys and girls.

James, a popular choice in the 1940s and ’50s, returned to the top 10 after missing out for several years. And Charlotte, ranked #10, made it to the list of top names for the first time ever (and the name is likely to stay there, thanks to the new arrival of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.) There’s even a newborn baby monkey named Charlotte at a zoo in Japan, although zookeepers are considering a name change. to avoid offending the British Royal Family.

 

Here’s the full list of the top 10 names for boys:

1) Noah

2) Liam

3) Mason

4) Jacob

5) William

6) Ethan

7) Michael

8) Alexander

9) James

10) Daniel

And for girls:

1) Emma

2) Olivia

3) Sophia

4) Isabella

5) Ava

6) Mia

7) Emily

8) Abigail

9) Madison

10) Charlotte

 

TIME Parenting

Michigan Teen Asks Mom to Prom After Discovering the Tearful Reason She Skipped Her Own

Decades later, her wish is finally coming true

Working up the courage to ask a date to prom can be nerve-racking – especially with the recent trend of elaborate promposals.

But one Michigan teen decided to go the traditional route for his very non-traditional date – his mom.

Danotiss Smith, an 18-year-old high school senior from Pontiac, Michigan, fulfilled his mother’s lifelong dream when he asked her to go with him to the prom.

“I was flattered,” Belinda Smith told ABC News. “I asked him, ‘You don’t want to ask someone else? You don’t have a special friend, someone cool that you can have fun with?’ I’m still elated. I’m just so happy that he wanted to share his day with me.”

Danotiss was inspired to invite his mom to the school dance after learning the heartbreaking reason she couldn’t attend her own prom 24 years ago.

When Belinda was 11 years old, her mother died from leukemia, and she and her siblings moved in with her grandmother. Times were tough for the family, and when Belinda was in high school, she couldn’t afford a lot of extra expenses.

“A couple people asked me to prom, but I had to turn them down because I didn’t have the funds to purchase a dress,” Belinda, 41, told WDIV-Detroit. “It was hard. I went home and cried because I wanted to go.”

Now, decades later, her wish is finally coming true.

“I am overwhelmed,” she told the station. “I’ve been waiting for this.”

“She teared up,” Danotiss said of when he asked his mother to prom.

“Some of my friends said it was kind of weird,” he added, laughing. “But some of them said it was kind of cool. Nobody has ever done that before.”

A beautiful orange dress has been purchased, and Danotiss says he will give his mom a white corsage when the two head to the Waterford Kettering High School prom together on Friday, according to ABC News.

“I just want her to enjoy it,” he said. “I want her to get that experience and have some fun.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Parenting

Men Are Right to Be Terrified About Mother’s Day

Mother's Day
Getty Images/RooM RF

Marina Adshade is the author Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influences Sex and Love.

The holiday isn't just for mothers anymore

The Monday after Mother’s Day last year, Camille (not her real name), a woman in my friend’s nursing program, arrived at work despondent and angry that her husband had made no effort to celebrate the day. She had expected flowers, gifts, brunch, and an outpouring of love and affection. That disappointment might seem reasonable given the way the holiday has evolved over the past century to one that is less about mothers and more about women in general.

The original purpose of Mother’s Day, first proposed by Anna Marie Jarvis in 1907, was for children to take the time to express appreciation to their mothers. Jarvis envisaged a simple tradition in which each child hand-wrote a note to their mother thanking her for all that she had done throughout the year.

President Woodrow Wilson declared the day a national holiday in 1914, and from that point on, as far as Jarvis was concerned, it went downhill. The holiday became widely commercialized in the early 1920s when handwritten thank-you notes were replaced with purchased cards, flowers, and gifts. There was money to be made on Mother’s Day, and, while the initial sentiment was still there, the holiday has a very long history of being shaped by economic profit.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are planning on spending a record-setting more than $21 billion for Mother’s Day this year. That’s an average spending of about $215 for each man and $133 for each woman who participate in the holiday. That might seem like a lot to spend on Mom, but the truth is that much of that money is spent on people in entirely different types of relationships.

Not only are daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and Godmothers all the recipients of Mother’s Day gift-giving, but, remarkably, about 14% of women and about 5% of men plan to buy presents for other relatives, and about 8% of women and 5% of men plan to buy presents for friends.

Of those men spending on Mother’s Day only about 60% plan on buying gifts for their actual mother. About 46% of men spending plan to buy gifts for their wives. That share might not seem particularly high, except that according to the U.S. Census about half of men in this group are married, which means that it’s likely the majority of married men are planning to buy gifts for their wives this Mother’s Day.

So maybe there is reason to sympathize with Camille, given how many men express their appreciation to the women who are helping to raise their children on this day. Except for one thing: Camille and her husband have no children. She is not a mother, and her expectation for special treatment on Mother’s Day was based solely on her status as a wife and future mother of his children.

In the U.K., the equivalent holiday to Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in March, is called “Mothering Sunday.” Perhaps that would be a better name for the North American holiday as well. In terms of having a tradition in which children express gratitude to the women who do so much for them, we seem to have completely lost the plot. More and more, we are celebrating the different kinds of mothering that so many women do: the mothering of their husbands, the mothering of their brothers, the mothering of their friends, and, even the mothering of their pets.

Of course, women have always done these things. The only difference today is that the market has finally figured out that commercialization of “mothering” is more profitable than the commercialization of children’s appreciation.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Family

These 5 Hero Moms Will Give You Extra Reason to Celebrate Mother’s Day

From saving a drowning couple to rescuing kids from a bear

It’s true that every mother is a hero, which is why we have Mother’s Day. It’s just one small day of the year for people to appreciate everything mothers do for their families. But it’s also true that all acts of maternal heroism are not created equal. Dealing with the daily challenges of raising kids is one thing, but saving children from a bear is quite another. So here, in honor of Mother’s Day, we present five hero moms of the year.

  • The Mom Who Rescued Her Kids With a Pizza Hut Order

    Cheryl Treadway was being held hostage with her children in Florida and figured out how to escape—using an order from Pizza Hut.

    With Treadway’s boyfriend holding her and her children their home at knifepoint this week, Treadway ordered from Pizza Hut on her phone and asked in the comments section for someone to call 911.

    Thanks to Treadway’s creative thinking, an employee at Pizza Hut called the police, who then rescued the family.

  • The Triathlete Mom Who Saved a Drowning Couple

    Tamara Loiselle almost drowned six years ago, so she became a triathlete: “I resolved I was never going to be that weak and out of shape again,” she said.

    That resolve ended up being life-saving when she saw a couple drowning off the coast of Cancun last December. There was no lifeguard on duty, so Loiselle , a single mother of two, dove in herself, swam out and brought the couple safely to shore.

    “Words cannot describe my gratitude but I’ll try,” the man said in an interview. “You saved my girlfriend’s life and most certainly mine too.”

  • The Mom Who Got Her Family Out of a Burning House

    Morgan Stone, mother of five, had only seconds to spare to get her entire family out of their Indiana home before it was engulfed in flames last December.

    “It took me a second to really realize what was happening. When I opened the bedroom door and it was full of smoke, it took me a minute to grasp that this was a serious house fire,” Stone said.

    She sprang into action and got her five kids, her father-in-law and her pets out of the house before the whole structure burned.

    “He says I’m a hero,” Stone said of her fiancé, “But I don’t think I’m a hero, I’m just a mom who got my kids out safely—nothing means more to me than them.”

  • The Mom Who Saved Her Neighbor’s Kids From a Bear

    Candace Gama saw her neighbor’s 6-year-old sons waiting for their school bus. Then she saw the bear.

    The black bear was about 20 yards away, so Gama drove her car between the bear and the kids and yelled at them to get in the car. Then to speed things up, she grabbed the boys by their backpacks and dragged them inside.

    According to a local Montana newspaper, Gama’s 5-year-old daughter said her mom was the hero of the day.

  • The Pregnant Mom Who Saved Her Family After a Terrible Car Crash

    Erika Grow’s car hit black ice on the road in Wyoming last November and flipped three times, throwing her husband and sister from the car and leaving her two young children trapped in the back.

    Even though she was eight months pregnant, Grow was able to clamber to the backseat and unbuckle her children, ages 3 and 21 months. She put them in suitcases to keep them warm in the freezing Wyoming weather.

    Grow’s husband and sister went to the hospital, but her two children and unborn baby were unharmed.

TIME Parenting

New Parents Spend Less Time Looking After Kids Than They Think

149355109
Miho Aikawa—Getty Images

And fathers overestimate how much housework they do

According to a new study, couples who have recently become parents believe they spend more hours in childcare than they actually do. And couples who intend to divide up childcare equally before their kid is born rarely achieve that balance once the baby arrives.

Researchers from Ohio State University interviewed 182 professional level couples before they had their kids and after. They also asked them to keep time diaries, which log how they spend their hours each day. The results might hold a clue as to why it’s harder for women to become business leaders, a subject that has been under much scrutiny in the last five years. But it also might provide ammunition in the so-called chore wars, because it suggests both men and women—but especially men—do less than they think do.

“Most modern couples want to share the duties and rewards of work and family equally,” says the study, which was prepared for an online symposium on housework, gender and parenthood (just in time for Mother’s Day!) hosted by the Council on Contemporary Families. And indeed before children enter the picture they divide up the labor pretty well. Men and women both report working about 45 hours a week and spending a further 15 hours a week each doing housework. This is borne out by their time-use diaries, which are a self-kept record of what activities took up their day. “Before the babies were born, most couples had achieved a balanced division of labor,” says the briefing paper.

When interviewed during their pregnancies, nearly all the couples had expected that balance to continue after their family grew by one member. “More than 95% of both men and women agreed that ‘men should share with child care such as bathing, feeding, and dressing the child’ and that ‘it is equally as important for a father to provide financial, physical, and emotional care to his children,’” the study says.

Nine months after the kids were born, which is about when schedules begin to settle in, the researchers interviewed the couples again, and each partner felt they had added about 50% to their overall work load. Instead of spending 60 hours a week on paid and unpaid labor, they reported spending about 90 hours a week. The moms estimated they were doing 27 hours of housework, 28 hours of child care, and 35 hours of paid work per week. The dads figured they were doing about 35 hours of housework, 15 hours of child care, and 41 hours of paid work per week.

So both men and women felt like they had reduced their time at the office. Dads felt as if they had picked up the slack around the house, more than doubling the time they spent doing chores, and then adding in 15 hours childcare as well. The women reported doing less housework than men, but a lot more childrearing.

Turns out, they were both wrong. According to the detailed time diaries that the participants kept, they women spent on average 12 hours less looking after the kids than they thought they did (15 hours). Even if playing and reading with baby—not strictly laborious—were included, women still spent six hours less with their kids than they had reported. Similarly, they were only doing about half as much housework as they guessed (13. 5 hours). Where did all the time go? The women spent 42 hours doing paid work— six hours more than they thought they spent in their jobs.

Dads’ estimates were even further off: they did about 10 hours of physical child care, about two thirds of what they had reported. They put in 46 hours of paid work —five hours more than they reported and more than they did before they had a child. But it was their estimate of housework that was the furthest off-base. “The time diaries revealed that on average the men did just nine hours of housework—only one-fourth as much as they thought they were doing,” says the report.

The authors, who were more interested in getting better access to reasonably priced and workable childcare than settling marital disputes about who’s not pulling their weight around the home, note that the eight extra hours a week could really add up. “Women’s total weekly workload increased from 56 to 77 hours across the transition to parenthood, while men’s increased from 59 to 69 hours,” says the study. “Thus, over the course of a year, our calculations indicate that parenthood increased women’s total workload by about 4 ½ weeks of 24-hour days, whereas parenthood increased men’s total workload by approximately 1 ½ weeks—a 3-week per year gender gap.”

The study is very small, and not nationally representative, but it does offer an intriguing perspective on the different impact being a parent has on men’s and women’s lives even in an era when equality is generally recognized as important. The danger is that if women feel overwhelmed they may decide to give up working outside the home.

Why is that a danger? “When a woman quits work, reduces hours, or takes a less-challenging job, she sacrifices earnings, raises, promotions, unemployment insurance, and pension accumulations, thereby undermining her future economic security,” writes Stephanie Coontz, Co-Chair and Director of Public Education at the CCF. “She is also less to likely to have the kind of work continuity that has been found to protect a woman’s mental and physical health better than part-time work, staying home, or experiencing frequent bouts of unemployment.”

Moreover, it further tips the balance of household labor away from the dads. Men feel even more pressure to work to make up for lost income, which leads to women taking over an increased share of the parenting and kids seeing less of their dads. Another paper prepared for the symposium shows that men’s contribution to the share of household work has increased markedly in every country studied, but clearly, the inequities remain.

Is there a solution? Perhaps, but it might involve some tense conversations. “We would argue that men and women should openly confront the workload inequities that develop in their child’s first nine months,” say the Ohio State authors, “because renegotiating the division of labor once routines are established is really difficult.” Alternatively, all new parents could keep a time-diary. Because they don’t have enough to do.

Sign up for TIME’s weekly parenting newsletter here. It’s free.

TIME Parenting

Watch a Blind Mom-to-Be Meet Her Unborn Baby on a 3D-Printed Ultrasound

"If you could touch him, would that let you know what he's like?"

Most expectant mothers get their first glimpse of their baby during the ultrasound. However, if you’re a mom-to-be who can’t see, the ultrasound experience might be a less profound experience.

“Meeting Murilo,” a video posted by the Brazilian branch of Huggies, however, is showing the world how one blind woman was able to share in the awe of that first ultrasound moment, even if she couldn’t see. Tatiana Guerra, 30, has been blind for almost half her life and now primarily experiences the world through touch.

“If you could touch him, would that let you know what he’s like?” her doctor asks. When Tatiana says yes, he presents her with a 3D-printed rendering of the ultrasound that Tatiana can touch and use to “meet” Murilo in a way she otherwise couldn’t until he was born.

And that, folks, is how a diaper ad makes you tear up.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Kids Overeat When They’re Stressed, Study Says

Especially if their parents use food as a reward

Next time you watch Bambi with your kids, you may want to hide the ice cream: A new study shows that 5-to-7-year-old children tend to eat more when they’re sad.

According to a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, kids are more likely to overeat when they are upset, especially if their parents have used food as a reward in the past. The study notes that stress eating is a learned and unnatural behavior, since stress and emotional turmoil usually reduce appetite, rather than increasing it. The fact that children were found to have stress eating tendencies at this age suggests that emotional overeating is something children learn in early childhood, perhaps because of the way their parents feed them.

The researchers divided the kids into two groups, asked them to color a picture, and then told them they would get a toy once the coloring was done. With one group of kids, the researchers withheld a crayon that was needed to complete the drawing, which meant the kids couldn’t get their prize. This was a “stressful situation” for the children. While the researchers pretended to look for the crayon so the kids could complete the drawing, kids snacked on a few different items around the room. Afterwards, the researchers found that the kids in the “stressful” situation ate more than the kids who were able to finish their drawing and get the toy, especially if their parents said they had used food as a reward in the past.

The study found that children were much more likely to stress eat if their parents over-controlled their eating, by doing things like using food as a reward or withholding food for health reasons. According to the researchers, these practices can override children’s natural hunger instincts, instead making food into a reward or an emotional comfort.

But because the sample size is relatively small (41 parent-child duos) more research is needed before we’ll get a clearer picture of how exactly parents’ feeding practices affect the way kids think about stress eating.

 

 

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com