• 10 Tips To Help Your Children Overcome Obesity

    Childhood obesity is a problem that hasn’t gone away. Studies by the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (published by The Journal of the American Medical Association in Jan. 2012) have found that 35.7% of the adult population and 16.9% of children are categorized as obese. That’s not including the even larger percentage of adults and children that are categorized as overweight. According to Dr. David Ludwig, Director of the Childhood Obesity Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston, “Children will be entering adulthood heavier than they’ve ever been at any time in human history.”

    Tips To Help Your Children Overcome ObesityNot only are children being bullied in schools as a result of their weight, causing their confidence to decrease, but they are also being predisposed to a vast number of health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, hyperlipidemia and liver disease, not to mention an overall lower quality of life.

    The easiest way to eradicate this problem is to educate children about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Along with this, parents themselves must learn what a healthy lifestyle entails. Childhood obesity often stems from parents living unhealthy lifestyles and passing those lifestyles onto their children, so parents must get involved.

    Tips To Help Your Children Overcome Obesity

    Childhood obesity is typically a result of the following lifestyle characteristics:

    Poor Eating Habits
    Americans have adopted an instant gratification diet, which leaves them reaching for the fastest food choices. This is in contrast to what was naturally intended for us. Eating is one of our favorite pastimes and it should be treated as such. Instead, we find ourselves nuking prepackaged, processed foods, stopping for fast food and gulping down sugary drinks like soda. Our bodies are not built to handle these types of foods, and the result is that we pack on the pounds.

    Excessive Eating and Eating at the Wrong Times
    As a society, we are also used to huge portions of food. We consume large meals instead of eating the way nature intended, which is to graze on small meals throughout the day. We go hours between meals, therefore we are starving when mealtime rolls around, which makes us eat more than we should. Plus, we save our largest meal for the end of the day, and if you happen to eat a late dinner, that means you’re body will not have ample time to burn calories before retiring to bed.

    Lack of Exercise
    It used to be that kids would be outside running around, riding bikes and engaging in sports activities for a good portion of the day. Now, much of that time is taken up with watching TV and playing video games. It is in children’s nature to be active and by allowing them to replace physical activity with sedentary activities, we are depriving them of their natural means of weight control.

    So what can we do?

    The way to combat and prevent childhood obesity is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Here are 10 tips for getting started:

    1. Make sure your child doesn’t have a medical condition. There are a number of illnesses that can contribute to obesity. As a first step, consult a doctor for a check up.
    2. Get the whole family involved. Don’t single out your child, but instead engage in a healthier lifestyle with them. Children learn their habits from their parents, so it is necessary for the entire family to engage.
    3. Make better shopping choices. If your child’s snacks and meals consist of processed and/or sugary foods like potato chips, cookies, microwavable meals, pastries, candy, fast food, white grains and such, you are depriving your child of the nutrients he or she needs and you are adding to his or her weight problem. Instead, buy foods such as: fruits, vegetables, whole grains (including bread, rice, crackers and pasta), yogurt, cheese and home-cooked meals (instead of pre-bought, processed foods).
    4. Convert to water. Obese children are taking in enough calories. The last thing you want to do is give them a deluge of additional calories in their beverages. Instead of soda and sugary fruit juices, substitute water and low fat milk.
    5. Get active. The whole family can get involved in physical activity by taking walks, playing a game of baseball or kick ball, jumping rope together, riding bikes, shooting hoops, swimming and much more. Get creative and get everyone involved. You will have a blast as a family unit and you will all end up with more energy!
    6. Adopt a better eating schedule. Provide healthy snacks in between meals, and reduce the large meals to a more natural portion size.
    7. Make small changes. Don’t try to change everything at once, or your family will go into shock! Make small changes incrementally and you will notice that when they have adopted one new food choice, other choices will become easier, etc.
    8. Educate your children. Explain to them why you are making these lifestyle changes and how they will affect the health of the whole family for the better. Get them involved in meal planning, shopping for food and preparing meals. You’ll be surprised how much they will understand and want to make the changes when they realize how important it is.
    9. Don’t deprive. No one wants to be completely deprived of the guilty pleasures they love so much. You don’t want your children rebelling against you, so make sure you allow them a treat every now and then.
    10. Introduce them to new healthy lifestyle changes. More and more health fairs are popping up allowing you and your children to taste new foods and try new activities. Make it a fun family outing.

    Now is the time to set your children up for success in life. By instilling healthy habits now, you can ensure they will carry those habits into adulthood. The flip side of that is that they could carry poor habits into adulthood and end up with illnesses that could have easily been avoided. Give your children the gift of health.

     

    Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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