Preventing Childhood Obesity
Preventing childhood obesity is something that each family needs to do. Doing so can be a lot of work, but is good for the whole family. After all, you are creating a healthy lifestyle for you and your children. It doesn't have to be an extremely difficult process and can be done a few small steps at a time!
Tips for Preventing Obesity
- Begin early. You can make good choices from infancy that can help limit the risk of your child becoming obese. This includes choosing to breastfeed, learning to recognize the signs of satiety, and delaying the introduction of solids till at least six months.
- Get a yearly well-child visit for each of your children. This will allow the doctor to keep an eye on their weight and growth. It also gives you a chance to talk with your child's doctor about any questions or concerns that you have.
- Set good examples. Your children will follow in your footsteps. If that means eating unhealthy, spending most of life without activity, and other negative things then that's what it means. But you also have the chance to set good examples.
- Avoid food related power struggles. This is one that is hard because often we want to force our children to eat healthier especially when young.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle. This can be done with examples in your own life and by controlling a few factors in your home.
- Limit TV, computer, and video game time. Many kids spend hours in front of the TV, computer, and or video game consoles. By limiting the time that is spent there you can open up lots of time for other activities.
- Assign active chores to everyone in the house. This can include mopping, vacuuming, and other chores that get you moving.
- Spend time outside. It is estimated that children should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least six days a week (but preferably every day). Think they are getting that at school? Studies show that most PE classes only give the children 25 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a WEEK!
- Participate in structured activities. This can include games, groups, and other things that get kids moving. You can also include gym time. Many gyms and YMCA's have a lot of fun kids activities.
- Teach your kids to cook healthy. This should be done as a family activity. If you don't know how to cook healthy, fear not. You can learn with your children and have the experience be a great one!
- Avoid rushing meals. Yes, I know you are busy. We are too. However, rushing through a meal makes it hard for you to tell wen you are full and when you are still hungry. Take your time to make it through a family meal each night.
- Serve small portions of food to each member. Let them come back for more, but don't start out with heaping helpings.
- Avoid forcing your child to eat. If they say they aren't hungry or they don't want to eat, don't make them.
- Avoid high fat, high calorie, and high sugar foods. At least as regular items in the diet. It is okay to have them every now and again, but they shouldn't be regulars.
- Don't talk about foods as "bad foods" and "good foods". Also don't remove all the "bad foods" from the house. This is likely to cause binging of those foods that are off limits when the kids are out of the house. It can also cause them to sneak those items home. Instead, offer lots of good choices and a few less healthy ones. Remember moderation is the key here.
While there is some genetic and hormone issues that can effect a person, living a healty lifestyle is the best way to prevent and treat obesity. It takes time, especially when you are used to a fast society, little time to care, and not enough energy to continue on. Of course, this healthy lifestyle will also make it easier to have more energy and to continue on!
Becoming a healthy family and nation is the best way to fight the obesity battle. Whether your children are skinny, average, overweight, or obese today you should choose to work toward a healthier tomorrow. It will be good for you and for them. Also you can prevent obesity in adulthood by teaching good habits and a healthy lifestyle now!