For the first time in the last century the new generation of children is expected to have more illnesses and die earlier than their parents. Why? Because of childhood obesity. The worst part is that childhood obesity is an avoidable disease. Childhood obesity is a lifestyle disease. In other words, it’s people’s lifestyles that cause the disease. And by changing lifestyles (even just a little bit) childhood obesity can be a disease of the past. But how? And what can you do as a parent to help your child not grow up to be another statistic?
1. Remember, you’re in control of the shopping. A lot of parents feel pressured by their children to bring home treats, chips, soda and other unhealthy foods their children like. And if they don’t bring home these sugary treats, their children put them on a guilt trip about how there’s nothing good to eat. Remember, you’re the one in control of the shopping. They may want you to bring home the sugary treats but this gives you a good opportunity to teach your children about what is healthy and what is not and why you bought what you did.
2. Buy more healthy foods. Because you’re in charge of the shopping, it’s your responsibility as a parent to provide healthy foods for your children. They might moan and groan that there’s nothing good in the house to eat but don’t worry, they won’t starve themselves. Soon they’ll start trying some of the healthy foods you’re bringing home and even find some they like.
3. Limit snacking. One of the major causes of childhood obesity is too much snacking. Snacks are OK but studies are finding that children who are obese snack multiple times during the day on top of meals. As a parent, you can provide snacks for them between meals that will get them by until the next meal time. Then if you catch them going to the fridge you can rest assured that they’ve had enough to last them until meal time. Therefore you can tell them to get out of the fridge and not have to worry that they’re going hungry.
If you’re worried that they’re snacking while you’re gone, you don’t have to worry too much as long as you’ve followed number three above and bought healthy foods. If you only have healthy foods around, you know that what they are snacking on is healthy.
4. Eat the same foods your children do. If you’re worried that your child is becoming or is obese and he or she gets a special dinner instead of what the rest of the family is eating, this child will likely feel resentful, targeted, embarrassed and not want to stick with the healthy diet. The same happens if you tell your child he can’t have sugary snacks while you’re pounding down a sleeve of Oreo’s. If you want your child to stick to a healthy diet, you have to eat the same foods he does.
5. Get out and play with them. Everyone knows that diet and exercise is necessary for a healthy lifestyle and to help avoid obesity. For children, the best form of exercise is play. It’s the best because it’s the one type of exercise they’ll like the most and will be likely to do more often. Encourage your children to go outside and play and make sure to limit their screen time to two hours a day as recommended by the Pediatrician Association. They may get bored with no TV but they’re kids, they won’t stay bored for long. After a few minutes of complaining how bored they are they’ll find something to do.
These five tips are great ways that you can help your child keep from getting obese. These are also great tips if your child currently is obese. The best part is that following these tips and helping your child avoid obesity will help make sure they live longer and have fewer diseases. This is a gift from you as a parent that they’ll cherish their whole (longer) life.