Should Children Diet?
Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. You don't just see obesity in adults anymore either. More and more children are fat. Many parents don't see it as a problem though and figure that their kids will be fine. But most children that are obese will turn into obese adults before you know it. Obesity is the leading cause of health problems in the US. It is up to parents to teach their kids the proper way to eat and exercise so that they don't become obese. That being said, what do you do when you have a child that is obese? Should they go on a diet like adults do?
I don't think so. I do not think children should diet the way adults do. They are still growing and need plenty of healthy fats in their diet. When most adults diet they try to cut out fats, but some fats are good for you. When you have an obese child it is important to talk to your doctor and be very careful about the way you feed your child and how you limit their food.
I see the obesity problem in children occurring for two reasons. Kids these days eat tons of junk food and fast food. These highly processed foods are filled with fake stuff that is very bad for you. The other cause of obesity is lack of exercise. Most kids come home from school and park in front of the TV. They play video games and watch TV for hours. Even homework is a very sedentary activity. And kids that come home alone while Mom and Dad are at work can't exactly go play outside safely anymore. So they stay inside - eating junk.
So rather than putting a child on a traditional diet, it is time to make some lifestyle changes. Make fast food a rare treat. Quit buying the chips, soda and candy at the store. Serve fresh fruits and vegetables at every single meal. Analyze the labels on all the foods that you buy. There is hidden sugar in almost everything. Even flavored organic milk has 27 grams of sugar per serving. That is a ton of sugar in milk.
If you have a selection of healthy foods available for your child to eat whenever they want, it is very likely that you won't have to limit how much they eat - as long as there isn't bad for you stuff in the house. Kids (including mine) will go for the treats every chance they get, but if it isn't available they will eat something else. Combine that with increased exercise and the obese child will probably slim down fairly quickly.
Exercise with your child if that will help. Play tag with them outside. Go for a walk after dinner or a bike ride in the afternoon. Or just give them some easy work outs to do. When my kids get too rambunctious then I figure they need to burn some energy. Telling them to do 100 jumping jacks or 50 sit-ups helps them and it helps me as it becomes a healthy outlet for their energy.
Also, if you can, sign them up for sports and activities. Our town and many around us, offer lots of after school activities for kids. Right now , for example, my son is playing gym games every Monday after school for an hour. It was a reasonable price and it has helped tremendously during the long winter months when getting outside is hard. My boys play soccer on Saturdays which involves lots of running around. There are so many options and if finances are a problem most organizations offer scholarships so that everyone can enjoy their programs. It is worth looking into for sure.
To sum it up, I do not think that children should diet, but that they should make lifestyle changes to help them slowly lose weight and become healthier. Eating right and getting more exercise will help obese children get down to a healthy weight. But if your child is obese, it is very important to talk to your doctor about changes you want to make. Keep in mind what is best for your child and traditional adult diets are not usually going to work for kids.
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