Childhood obesity starts in infancy and it’s up to parents to instill nutritious habits early on that’s the message Norah O’Donnell delivered at INOVA Alexandria Hospital’s Women’s Health Expo Saturday.
O’Donnell, an MSNBC correspondent and mother, recently co-authored Baby Love: Healthy, Easy Delicious Meals for your Baby and Toddler with husband, Chef Geoff Tracy. Demonstrating a healthy children’s recipe for an audience of about 75, O’Donnell called on parents to develop good eating habits early on in childhood.
We learn good and bad habits in infancy and childhood, she said. What you feed your child today is going to affect the rest of their lives.
O’Donnell fielded questions from parents and soon-to-be parents while whipping up a healthy guacamole dish, everything from the influence of television on eating habits to handling picky eaters. Parents might not realize they set the tone, she said, if children see them drinking soda, then they’re going to want soda.
She also championed fruits and vegetables as the cure for everyday ailments forgotten in the pharmaceutical era. Treats like papayas are an easy fix for an upset stomach, she said.
I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, but in the past 50 years we’ve turned to drugs and pills, O’Donnell said. Before then it was spices and nutrition.
Her demonstration was one of many offered at INOVA Alexandria. Discussions of breast, heart and reproductive health for women featuring expert panels ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Seminary Road hospital.