Preventing Childhood Obesity

It’s no secret that childhood obesity is increasing by the day. As of now, 1 in 3 children are overweight. In the past 20 years the figures have doubled. It doesn’t take statistics and research to tell you that this is a huge problem (pun intended). More and more, we see children sitting in front of computers and televisions rather than up and active. We see more and more sugary and fatty foods, rather than a well balanced, nutritional meal.

So what can you do if your child is becoming overweight?

Before we begin with prevention strategies, I should state that only a physician will be able to tell you accurately if your child is overweight. Because children grow at different rates and times, it is sometimes mistaken for a weight problem.

Once you have the verdict, here are some methods to implement to begin the process of weight loss in your child.

  • Healthy eating behaviors
  • Physical activity every day
  • Reducing sedentary activity

You might be thinking, “Duh! That’s a given.” Well, if it’s so easy, why are 60% of American children obese?

Along with making sure your child has enough exercise and plenty of fruits, veggies, and water, it is also imperative that we do not encourage a lot of down time. Did you know that 32% of 2-7 year-olds and 65% of 8-18 year-olds have television in their bedrooms? The blame is to be placed on the parents, not the child.

As one doctor put it, “What you have is a generation that has to make an effort to be physically active. Unless they think about it, they can go an entire day without being physically active.”

Twenty years ago, most Americans either played a sport or hide-and-seek to remain entertained; today, children rush home, throw down their backpack, and head for the TV/computer. We must change the behaviors to produce different outcomes.

The bottom line

With a huge supply of visual temptation on every commercial and billboard, the key lies in keeping your children active.

It will be hard for your child to lose weight, which is why you should probably take part with them. Don’t push them out of the back door and say, “Go play!” Instead, get involved with them. Make it more enjoyable for them.

Summary

In short, your children will not become used to the sedentary lifestyle if we encourage other behaviors early on, but if it does reach the “too late” point, we can always make changes that will better are child’s health and life.

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