Monday, May 28, 2012

How to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has reached an all-time high. Today, 17% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are obese or overweight. This is a serious medical condition that requires serious attention. Because we live in a world that promotes such extreme intake of food than in the past and so little activity and exercise, it’s not a surprise that obesity continues to grow in our country. The fact is that childhood obesity, if not stopped, will lead to major health issues. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer have all been linked with childhood obesity and it’s time to put a stop to this dilemma. Not only do obese children have medical issues, they are also more likely to have low self-esteem, and suffer from depression. This has become an unfortunate pattern, and children that remain obese tend to grow into adults who are obese.

As responsible parents, it’s our job to stop the trend and help get kids on a better path to a healthier and happier life. Here are some great tips for any concerned parent.
Breakfast: Everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This couldn’t be more true. Starting a child’s day off with a healthy breakfast will get their metabolism moving early in the morning and help the brain to function better. When a child is resting or sleeping for about 8 hours, their metabolism slows down a lot. Breakfast is going to jump start that metabolism, so that it’s up the whole day. Eating breakfast every day also establishes a routine, which can also help to maintain a healthy weight (less snacking on junk food before lunch). Establish that morning routine ASAP, for a filling breakfast that can keep them going until lunchtime.
Limiting Servings: From the moment your child begins eating solid foods, parents have control over what their children put in their mouths and what they do not. Make sure your child realizes the importance of small servings at a young age. After all, the size of a child’s stomach is extremely small, so smaller servings are appropriate. It is very hard to break the habit of over-eating, so nip it in the bud. Offer more water to your children too. Even flavored waters are good for kids versus “juices” and soft drinks that are loaded with sugar.
Less Television: Children tend to live what they learn, and that includes being active. If children don’t see their parents sitting in front of the television all day and night and DO see them being physically active, the children will tend to behave the same way. Pediatric reports have recommended that kids be limited to one to two hours of television a day, max. Instead, take a long walk with your children. Go outside and throw the baseball, or play a game of kickball. Go for walks, take your kid to the gym, whatever it takes!
Regular Physicals: Take the kids regularly to have physicals. The doctors can measure a child’s weight and BMI (body mass index) and give you useful information for healthy habits. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about your child’s weight issues and let them suggest ways to make good changes. They can also let you know if you should look out for things like diabetes or other serious conditions.

We can take positive action to prevent childhood obesity, and today is just as good a day as any to start taking the actions that will make it happen!!

Marissa Ford writes about fitness, finance & frequenting

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