‘Healthy Parent Healthy Child’ by Karen Miller-Kovach

Essentially this is a practical book, designed to help people establish sensible life-time patterns of eating and exercise. It is aimed at parents and children because it is in childhood that habits are adopted which may last for decades, and because parents need help and advice in encouraging their children to adopt the right approach.

Of course, what goes for the children goes for parents too, and they may need to unlearn some aspects of their own way of life. Since the book has come out, research has indicated how girls model themselves on their mothers and boys on their fathers, and if we are to overcome the growing problem of obesity it means that some parents will have to change their eating and exercise patterns if they are to be good models for their children. As it says on the cover, Healthy parent, healthy child.

The book is well set out, with sections on what they call the “healthy-weight home”, parents’ roles, adapting to the needs of different families, recipes, the “family action plan” and a lot of references. The recipes are attractive and easy to follow.

One nice feature is that the approach was trialled before the book was published, and there are success stories dotted around throughout the book to encourage readers to go and do likewise. (Apparently it was mostly the mothers who lost weight.)

As noted at the start of this review, it is essentially a practical book. It does not ban any foods, but encourages moderation. It takes a sensible reasoned approach, with sound advice and tips. A key underlying point is that it urges readers to develop a whole package approach, involving not only exercise and diet but their whole life-style.

The advice given in this book is not only sensible, but the publishers’ blurb asserts that it is also scientifically well-founded; the author is Chief Scientific Officer of Weight Watchers International.

At £14.99 for over 200 large, well-illustrated pages, it is good value, and if families buy only one book on this subject, Healthy parent, healthy child should be one of the front-runners. And while talking about the illustrations, medals should go to the photographers, designers (Meg Georgeson) and the Chinese printers for a first-rate production.

Miller-Kovach, Karen Healthy Parent, Healthy Child (2009)

Simon and Schuster, London

ISBN 978-0-74329-549-9

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