In this Thursday’s Science & Nutrition Nuggets I look at the Fathers’ influence over his child’s weight, the many flavors and motivations of vegetarianism and a comparison of the straight-bar and hex-bar deadlifts.
Father’s Eating Habits & Weight Impacts Child?
Men are less likely to self-identify as being overweight, attempt weight loss, or enroll in weight loss programs compared to women. It’s still true that while looks matter to men their contribution to income generation still seems to trump their looks when considered en masse.
It’s also well established that Mothers are to blame for everything relating to a child’s health and welfare. Oh wait, let me rephrase that. Mothers blame themselves for everything relating to a child’s health and welfare AND a lot of science does support, that at least when considering a child’s weight, Mothers contribute greatly to their child’s weight pre-birth through early adulthood.
But what about Fathers? Is there any finger-pointing that can go their way for the impact their weight may have on their children?
Well, that’s exactly what the present study decided to look at. And it’s not the first to indicate that Fathers can influence their child’s weight. A recent study demonstrated that a father’s parenting style was more influential than a mother’s parenting style on their pre-school child’s weight status. Fathers’ dietary intake has also been shown to be associated with their children’s dietary intake.
One longitudinal (observations made of the same variables over long periods of time) study of more than 3200 families identified that having an overweight or obese father, but a healthy weight mother, increased the odds of a child becoming obese. However, the reverse scenario (having an overweight mother with a healthy weight father) was not a significant predictor of childhood obesity.
The conclusion? Fathers are a key influence in shaping the home environment that may influence children’s dietary and physical activity behaviors. While this may not be surprising to most and while it’s true that Mothers take on most of the responsibility and self-blame it’s also true that Fathers are incredibly influential to their entire families. So guys? Dads? You’re not off the hook. You too are responsible for leading by example to keep your kids healthy (1).
A Brief Intro Or Review of The Many Flavors of and Motivations Behind Vegetarianism
Greater emphasis on healthy lifestyles, which include a well-balanced nutrition program has led to increased interest in vegetarian diets over the past few decades. Even so, 96.4% of adults consume some meat in their nutrition.
Are some vegetarian eating patterns motivated by the goal of weight control more than animal welfare? Yes. Vegetarianism, for some, becomes a socially acceptable means of practicing dietary restraint by eliminating meat and other animal products, for the purposes of weight control.
All research isn’t in agreement on this topic, however, some published data indicates vegetarians have a higher rate of disordered eating than non-vegetarians. For some, vegetarianism may serve as an eating pattern that allows them to control their weight while concealing disordered eating behaviors from their parents during adolescence.
Prior to reading this paper I was aware of vegans and lacto-ovo-vegetarians. But I found the other variety of vegetarian “flavors” interesting. Check this out.
Vegetarianism is a broad term that encompasses a range of food avoidance and selection patterns that differ primarily in the extent to which animal products are included in the diet. At one extreme are vegans who include only foods derived from plants, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes or dried beans and peas, grains, seeds, and nuts, and avoid all animal products, including dairy and eggs in their diets. Lacto-vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians are less extreme in their food choices than vegans in that they include dairy products, or eggs, respectively, in their diets. Other groups of ‘‘vegetarian-oriented’’ individuals include pesco-vegetarians who additionally eat fish, and semi-vegetarians, who avoid red meat, but include fish, poultry, and sometimes pork in their diets. Thus, although all vegetarian (i.e., vegan, lacto- and ovo-vegetarians) and vegetarian-oriented (pesco- and semi-vegetarian) individuals restrict red meat from their diets, the degree to which they avoid animal products varies along a continuum. While those who are concerned about health may be less restrictive, those who have strong ethical or philosophical reasons for avoiding animal products tend to adopt more restrictive forms of vegetarianism, such as veganism.
The present paper reviewed stated that in general vegetarians are more health conscious, leaner, and less likely to develop diabetes than non-vegetarians. For those who adopt vegetarian diets later in life, overall nutrition improves. Thus, it appears that those who follow well-planned vegetarian diets, which are relatively low in saturated fat, generally don’t need to lose weight. As a result, responsible vegetarian diets may actually help protect against eating disorders (2).
Hex-Bar Deadlift Safer Than Conventional Straight-Bar Deadlift
The deadlift is a foundation exercise for every powerlifter and most athletes and lifters who are serious about improving explosive sprint and jumping performance as well as those interested in adding quality muscle mass.
The study reviewed looked at a number of variables comparing the hex-bar and the straight-bar deadlift.
The straight-bar deadlift has existed since before the turn of the 20th century and no doubt has been peformed by millions of men and women since then. A reality of straight-bar deadlifting, however, is the bar path is in front of the line of pull through the long axis of the body (an imaginary line passing longitudinally through the center of a body). To put it plainly the bar is “out in front of you.” The forces exerted on the low-back (lumbar) area of the spine are very high with straight-bar deadlift with risk of injury being greater compared to the hex-bar deadlift.
With the hex-bar the movement is similar yet definitely not the same. For one your hands are at your side and you stand within the bar. This keeps the pull in line with the long axis placing less pressure on the vertebrae of the lumbar region thus reducing the chance of injury. Additionally, at least with the study reviewed, peak power was greater with the hex-bar than the straight. Power is defined as force X velocity. A higher peak power may be of advantage to athletes.
Without making this a 1000-word review I’ll just sum things up by saying the authors of the study found the hex-bar deadlift to be safer and allows lifting of a higher load due to the biomechanic differences between the two bars. If you have a touchy, tweaky low back and can’t do a straight-bar deadlift you may want to try a hex-bar deadlift after a proper warmup. And, of course, don’t do either exercise if you have a tweaky back or previously-known injury of any body part relating to these movements unless you are cleared by your doctor or physical therapist (3).
1. BMC Public Health 2011, 11:876
2. Appetite 58 (2012) 319–325
3. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Jul;25(7):2000-9.