At the “Role Modeling Health Legacy Summit” today, panelists discussed the role of mothers in setting up good eating habits for their daughters.  Panelists discussed the substantial body of scientific evidence documenting a mother’s impact on their daughter’s future eating habits.  While this event was obviously geared toward girls and has been promoted as a “women’s empowerment” event, I take away something much different. It’s provides further proof that parents–not government–can best influence children. 

A child won’t simply eat the vegetables put on his lunch tray…especially if he’s never seen these vegetables in his own home.  But parents who eat vegetables and other healthy food influence thier children to do the same.  Vegetables can seem very exotic to a child who has never seen them. 

We can pump millions more into school lunch programs (and breakfast and dinner programs and after-school feeding programs and weekend and summer feeding programs) but the real way to get a kid to eat healthy is for parents to eat healthy themselves and to help their children make good food decisions.