Dr. Mehmet Oz is well-known for his TV program and best-selling books, and he recently visited Nashville to speak at Channel 4's Healthy 4 Life Expo.
He sat down with us to discuss a number of health issues in Tennessee, including childhood obesity, and also ways parents can better connect with their kids.
"If you grow up eating burgers and fries and a large soda, that's not unusual in this part of the country, especially, you will actually take those same taste buds into your adult life. You'll crave the same things at 35 and then 55, and that's where the real problem hits us," Oz said.
Oz says expose your kids to a variety of good, nutritious foods at an early age, and make it a point to do this together.
"I'm a parent. I'll put myself in this group. With four kids, I dramatically underestimate the importance of eating meals together with the kids," he said. "There are no excuses for dinner time. It's an opportunity for parents to impose a rule that you hope your kids will carry on to their lives as well. And never forget: Your kids will treat themselves how you treat them when they grow up. They'll treat themselves how you treat yourself. So, if you don't express this to them, they won't have that wisdom to pass onto their children."
He says to use that time to connect with your kids and model good eating habits.
But long before dinner, Oz says there's a very important decision we all have to make at the grocery store.
"Once you bring the junk into the house, the kids will overwhelm you and get to it. So make decisions when you control the kids' destiny. Bring healthy stuff into house and let them eat whatever they want, because everything is healthy," he said.
Oz also talked about how to cut some of the social media and cell phone distractions out of our lives.
"Every time you give your kids something you didn't have growing up, you take from them something you did have. So I had to go play outside with my sisters, which was a pain for me, but I did it and it made us very close," Oz said. "Today, my kids could easy be the in car and get in their own corners be in their own little world with their own music. Forcing conversation that bring us together is one of the biggest opportunities parents have."
Still, he acknowledges social media has taken that out of play in some areas.
"The irony of social media is although it's designed in theory to bring us together, it generally does opposite," he said.
Dr. Oz notes that there are huge benefits to our advancing technology, but says it has to be managed right.
"I'm not saying banish cell phones and social media and web. I'm arguing we use it in a more controlled fashion. So, if you have the opportunity to have a meals with kids, and you can dock your cell phone and not check it again unless it's an emergency, these are simple things you can do that give you freedom to live your life the way it was meant to be lived."
That's not just advice. That's something he does every day.
"Give me one hour of true authentic connection with my kids, I'll take it," Oz said. "Just being present, which is the biggest gift you can give anybody, is worth every investment you can make."
To watch the full conversation, visit: http://www.wsmv.com/video?clipId=9437658&autostart=true.
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