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Tips for Preventing Obesity in Your Children

Updated on March 5, 2017

One of the gigantic ironies of our times is that in certain parts of the world, thousands of children are dying for want of food while in some of the developed countries, many parents are worried that their children have been affected by the problem of obesity. Thanks to the abundant resources available to them, many of the parents in these developed countries want to exhibit their culinary prowess and while doing so, they commit the mistake of stuffing their children with the items they prepare. They do not realize that their kids can become the victims of their kitchen experiments.

These parents realize their mistake only after their kids become obese and overweight. They now have an uphill task on hand. Apart from concentrating on the cerebral development of their children, they have to teach them to eat healthily and do regular exercises as well.

Though the process of getting fit should begin with the mind, how can we expect small children to make the right decisions? In fact, most of the children may not be able to make the right choices till they reach the age of 16, 17 or 18. For instance, when children are asked what they want to become when they grow up, they may give one answer today and a completely different answer the next day. In other words, with their limited exposure and mental growth, they may not be able to make firm choices, leave alone the right ones.

That is why parents are expected to hand-hold their children and put them on the right track. Even in the case of eating healthily and doing regular exercises, it is the parents who have to provide their children with the right type of guidance.

Very importantly, parents have to carry out this task with relentless discipline. As Robert Ringer puts it, "the only way to change anything is to change everything." This means you, as a parent, must try bringing changes in every aspect of your kids' lives so you can achieve your aim of preventing obesity in them.

You should remember that the physical and mental attributes of children are much different from those of adults. Hence, you cannot impose the steps adults follow on your children. In fact, your goal should not at all be to bring down the weight of your children. Instead, your focus should be to ensure that the kids do not gain further weight. This means that when they grow up, they will be "growing into" their existing weight.

But how to ensure that your children do not gain further weight? The first step is to stop quick gaining of weight. To quote an example, a boy of 12 years of age will gain an average weight of 10 pounds every year during his teen years. But if the weight gain is more, he will certainly be an overweight person when he becomes an adult. On the other hand, if you ensure that the gain in weight is limited to 10 pounds, chances of he becoming overweight are less.

The second step is to bring down the yearly weight gain from 10 pounds. This means you have to restrict his calorie consumption. Of course, you must get suitable guidance from a dietitian who can handle overweight children as well.

For ensuring that your boy sheds his pounds, you must adopt a two-pronged approach. You must decrease his calorie consumption and also ensure that he burns his calories by doing regular exercises. Experts point out that the equivalent of 1 pound is approximately 3500 calories and this means that you should ensure that your boy burns 3500 calories or consumes 3500 calories less for shedding 1 pound of his weight.

There is an easy way to achieve this aim. Reduce his calorie consumption by 500 calories every day. If this is not possible, see that he does his exercises and burns 500 calories additionally every day. You can also try the option of reducing his calorie consumption by 250 calories and making him do his exercises and burn 250 additional calories. Whatever may be your approach, you should start it as early as possible.

The following tips may also help. They are worth putting the efforts.

1. Keep a close watch on what your kids eat because you must find out the source from which they get those calories. Sugary drinks, high-fat foods and junk foods should be completely avoided. Instead of these items, you must ensure that your children eat just the required quantities of nutrient-dense foods.

2. 'Super size' meals are dangerous because they can contribute heavily to increase in weight in children. Similarly, do not insist that your kids should eat even the last crumb on their plates. They should be allowed to stop eating as soon as they feel 'full.'

3. Though milk is a great source that can get good amount of calcium for your kids, it can also contribute to weight gains. So, you must avoid giving excessive quantity of milk to your kids. Just about 20 ounces of milk every day will be sufficient to provide the calcium your children need. Switching to low-fat milk is also a good idea.

4. Encourage your children to do regular exercises on a daily basis. Similarly, involve them in out-door sports as well as activities like swimming, roller-skating, etc.

5. Discourage inactivity at all costs. Set strict timings for TV viewing and for video and computer games. Similarly, do not allow them to watch TV while eating.

6. Above all, be a role model. If you eat healthily and do your exercises regularly, your children will also learn those habits.

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    • Janellegems profile image

      Janellegems 6 months ago from United States

      These are all great advice and suggestion to prevent obesity in children. Thanks for sharing a much needed article for parents.