Child obesity is a problem that’s becoming all too common. According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has nearly tripled since the 1970s. Not only is childhood obesity a major health concern in and of itself, but it also increases the risk of developing chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.
Fortunately, there are things that parents can do to help their children prevent obesity.
Get your kids moving
Encourage your kids to be active every day. This doesn’t mean they have to hit the gym for an hour or two; just ensuring that they’re getting up and moving around regularly will make a big difference. Try incorporating physical activity into everyday activities, such as setting for a family walk after dinner or playing catch in the backyard.
Keep an eye on screen time
Too much time spent in front of screens (TVs, phones, computers, etc.) can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which increases the risk of obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 2-5 years should have no more than 1 hour of screen time per day and that children aged 6 years and above be limited to no more than 2 hours per day. You can also limit the types of shows or movies your kids watch; choose programs that promote physical activity or healthy eating habits.
Make healthy food choices
Sports drinks, sodas, and processed snacks are all examples of unhealthy food choices contributing to weight gain. Instead, stock your fridge and pantry with healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, cereals, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein sources such as beans, fish, and chicken. And when it comes to portion sizes, don’t be afraid to cut down, as most of us tend to eat more than we realize!
Encourage them to sip regularly
Encourage your kids to drink water throughout the day by keeping a pitcher or water bottle filled and easily accessible. Replace sugary and canned juices with fruit juices and smoothies. Try adding flavor to their plan water with lemon, cucumber, berries, etc.
Cook together as a family
Cooking at home is not only a great way to bond with your kids, but it’s also an opportunity to teach them about healthy eating habits. When you cook together, you can control the ingredients that go into your meals and ensure they’re healthy. You can also teach your kids about portion sizes and show them how to read nutrition labels. And there’s nothing like cooking together to make your day more fun!
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