Help Prevent Childhood Obesity With These 2 Important Steps

Sep 26 • 2017

Did you know about 1 in every 5 school-aged children is obese? Obesity has become one of the biggest concerns for parents as more children are considered overweight or obese. Not only does obesity increase risk for heart problems, diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea, but it can also lead to bullying and low self-esteem. As a parent, it’s important to take steps to help your children maintain a healthy weight. The best place to start is with proper nutrition and regular physical activity.

Encourage Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is one of the biggest struggles for many children. Not only do they tend to be pickier eaters than adults, but they also may be exposed to unhealthy choices at school and while participating in extracurricular activities. By encouraging good habits at home, kids are more likely to make healthier decisions even when mom and dad aren’t around.

When planning meals for the family, make sure your child eats

  • Dairy products that are low- or non-fat
  • Whole grain products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Protein from lean meats, fish, poultry and beans

Limit your child’s access to sugary beverages and foods high in saturated fats while encouraging water consumption. When having meals together at home, give reasonably sized portions to prevent overeating. Consider removing unhealthy items that might be a temptation from the pantry, and replace these with healthier alternatives or try swapping out ingredients in your child’s favorite foods to boost their nutritional value.

Keep Them Active

A balanced diet is a great start, but many kids spend so much time being sedentary that it can easily offset any healthy eating done at home. With distractions from smartphones, movies, video games and more, keeping your children active can be a challenge. It is recommended that kids participate in at least one hour of moderate physical activity most of the week, if not every day. This can include activities, such as walking, jumping rope, playing sports, swimming or other activities.

As a parent, your child will mimic what you do. If you’re spending time during the day being active, it’s more likely that your child will want to as well. Consider exercising together, like riding bikes around the neighborhood, going to a mom/dad and child workout class at your gym or taking a trip to the local pool. An active lifestyle, combined with the right diet, can set your child up for a healthier life.

Are you struggling to help your child maintain a healthy weight? Looking for tips on how to better manage nutritional eating and physical activity? today for personalized recommendations.