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Dear Wow: How do I get my parents to be healthier?

Dear Wow,

My parents came of age in the era of cheeseburgers and cigarettes. While they’ve finally quit smoking (yay!), they still eat terribly and get zero exercise. What can I do to make them be healthier?


Dear Worried,

Kudos to your parentals for quitting smoking, and kudos to you for addressing their health. My only concern comes from your use of the word “make.” Human beings (specifically, crotchety parents) don’t tend to take well to being made to do anything. And chances are, the more you nudge them about wheat germ and kale, the more they’ll rebel with Mountain Dew and Yodels. The best you can do is to gently remind them how important their health is to you and to lead by example. When they come to visit, suggest a walk to the farmers’ market. When you have them to dinner, cook a balanced meal to show that veggies are delicious. And if all else fails, play the guilt card: A dose of “I want you to know your grandchildren” never hurt anyone.

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