"You can't get up from the table until you've finished your food." If you're like most people, this refrain was repeated over and over throughout your childhood, often encouraging you to continue eating long after you'd reached the point of satisfaction.
The numbers don't lie: according to the American Heart Association, more than 18 percent of American children and young adults aged 6 to 19 are now classified as obese, and a shocking 12.1 percent of children under 5 are, as well. And while genetics may factor into the increasing rates of overweight and obesity among children, what we're teaching them about what, when, and why they should eat plays a significant role. So, before you go to tell your kid that they won't get dessert until they've eaten every bite of their dinner or opt for the convenience foods your parents once fed you, consider whether or not you're simply repeating the unhealthy patterns you grew up with—and if you are, make a vested effort to fix them.
Luckily, it's easy to retrain both body and brain in no time: it starts by identifying these 40 fattening food habits we learn as kids. And when you want to make the whole family healthier in the long run, discover these 40 Ways to Teach Your Kids Healthy Eating Habits.