Until recently, only 5 to 10 percent of America’s children were overweight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of U.S children – approximately 25 million – are now overweight or at risk for becoming overweight. Obesity is the most prevalent nutritional disease of children and adolescents in the United States. It is estimated that eighty percent of overweight ten-to-thirteen-year-olds will become overweight adults. In addition to this, the more overweight a child is, the higher his or her risk for obesity and type II diabetes.
It’s time for us to take action and make some changes. In this article I have included some tips to help us take the necessary action in helping our children live the healthy and happy lives they deserve
Tip #1: Many parents are tempted to seek a doctor’s help in treating their overweight child. Parents must realize that lack of exercise and eating too much are not medical conditions. Taking your child to the doctor for his or her weight problem could make your child think that there is something ‘wrong’ with them. It has also never been proven that seeking out doctors is an effective method of slimming down children. Instead, I would advise parents to take a good look at their child’s activity level and daily dietary intake.
Tip #2: Limit how often you use food as a reward for good behavior, so that it doesn’t become associated with emotions. If you do use food to reward your child, pick more healthy choices.
Tip #3: Involve your children in the preparation of nutritious meals. Children love to feel like they have helped you and what child won’t eat something that they helped you prepare?
Tip #4: Participate and play with your children. Take a walk. Go for a hike or bike ride. Play Frisbee or catch with a tennis ball. Children really enjoy beating their parents at something!
Tip #5: Make a firm rule in the household that food is to be eaten at the dinner table only.
Tip #6: Get your children involved in sports even if they are toddlers. There are many programs that offer athletic activities for preschoolers. The local recreational centers or kinder gym classes are always great choices.
Tip #7: Use smaller plates and keep extra food out of sight so your children are not tempted to ask for seconds.
Tip #8: Pack your kid’s school lunches. Giving them money instead makes it tempting to buy from vending machines.
Tip #9: Adolescence is a time when children generally drop out of sports. To encourage overweight adolescence and teens to stick to an athletic program, don’t just drop them off and pick them up later. Stay there and watch them. Support them. Cheer them on.
Tip #10: Lead by example. Be a good role model for your children. Show them how much fun it is to play and be physically active, and educate them about good nutrition.