Teaching Kids Self-Control Could Help Them Stay Trim

by Chris Curley on August 20, 2012

Helping your children to learn the value of delayed gratification could prevent them from becoming overweight adults, MyHealthNewsDaily reported Aug. 16.

Every minute that a four-year-old child was able to resist temptation — in the case of the study, a marshmallow placed in front of them — correlated with a 0.2-point lower body-mass index score as an adult, lead researcher Tanya Schlam, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and her colleagues found.

In addition, children who are better at delaying gratification also have better grades and social interactions growing up than those who can’t hold back when tempted.

So, try to teach your kids the willpower to wait for what they want, although you should also keep temptations at arm’s length, if possible, Schlam notes.

“People have self-control, but it’s a limited resource,” she says.

The study appears online in the Journal of Pediatrics.

(Photo © Kullez via Flickr)