One of the most epidemic health care problems today is childhood obesity. Obesity is often defined as more than 20% above the ideal weight for the child’s height and weight. According to the CDC, in 2008, more than 33% of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. These numbers have tripled over the last 30 years! According to some sources this current generation of children may not live as long as previous generations. This calls for major action!
Overweight children can experience immediate effects of increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol, pre-diabetes, greater risk of bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and poor self-esteem.
A large percentage of overweight children go on to become overweight adults. Long term effects can include heart disease, type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, and many types of cancer.
Here are 4 easy tips to help keep your kids health and happy:
- Set a Good Example
As a parent you are your child’s best role model. Kids will mimic your habits. They need to see you choosing healthy behaviors and being positive and supportive.
- Limit Your Child’s Exposure to Fast Food
Families are busier than ever these days and many rely on processed, calorie-dense fast food to feed their children. To overcome this plan ahead! Take some time out of your weekend to meal plan and grocery shop for the following week. Involve your kids in the process. Plan slow cooker meals on your really busy days. Plan simple meals revolving around fresh vegetables and lean proteins. When you’re prepared, you’ll be surprised that it takes just as much time to eat healthy as it does to pick up fast food.
- Replace Soda and Fruit Juice with Water
Sodas are loaded with chemicals and sugars. Fruit juices are also often loaded with added sugars. Check the labels. There is no replacement for water. Your body requires it to function properly.
- Get Your Children Moving
Encourage your child to find an activity they enjoy. Exercise is so important to a healthy lifestyle. Center your family time around an activity that will get you all moving. Not only is this a benefit to their health but also it will help to build their self-esteem.
Remember the habits your children develop now are the habits they will take into adulthood. Set them off on the right foot!