Who doesn’t love the chubby cheeks of a child and the waddling gait of a plump toddler? Sadly, doctors around the world are worried that this seemingly lovely sight could, in fact, signal a difficult problem namely childhood obesity.
Understand here the reasons for childhood obesity and also explore 6 simple lifestyle changes to help your child maintain a healthy weight. Read on.
Reasons for childhood obesity
Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are:
- Genetics play an important role.
- Easy access to fattening food that is low in nutrition.
- Little access to parks and playgrounds. Hence their calorie intake far exceeds their calorie expend.
- Medical conditions such as an underlying hormonal imbalance.
6 simple steps to control childhood obesity
As a parent, you can play an important role in helping your child prevent obesity. The first step towards it is to first recognize that there is a problem. Then focus on slowly changing the physical activity and eating habits of the entire family so that the child does not feel singled out.
Following are a few helpful steps that you can follow:
1. Be supportive
Talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you. Never criticize them as your child’s self-image is greatly influenced by your feelings and opinion.
2. Encourage healthy eating habits
Involve your kids in menu planning, buying grocery, and cooking to help them develop an interest in healthy food options. Include plenty of bright-colored fruits and vegetables
, whole-grain products, and low-fat dairy products in the daily diet. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein. Serve fruits as an appetizer in between the meal hours. Make them drink plenty of water. Allow children to stop eating when they feel full, instead of insisting on emptying the plate.
3. Restrict calorie-rich temptations
Limit soft drinks and packaged foods such as chocolates, chips, ice creams, and other high-fat snacks. Discuss with them the difference between healthy and junk foods. Try adding tasty fruit and vegetable recipes. You can allow them to eat their temptations but in moderation.
4. Have at least one family meal every day
Make it a point that you eat at least one meal with your child. It is observed that kids who regularly eat with their parents consume more fruit and vegetables, and are usually less likely to be overweight.
5. Designate time for physical activity daily
Kids should get at least 60 minutes of regular, moderate to vigorous intensity activity each day that is developmentally appropriate. Include running, rope jumping, playing tag, football, swimming, or dancing in your own daily routine. This will encourage your child to join you.
6. Reduce sedentary time
Limit their time for watching television, playing video games, or surfing the web to no more than 2 hours per day. It will allow them more time for physical activity. Also, set a regular time even for completing homework.
With your firm and loving support, you can help your child make smart lifestyle modifications and thereby overcome obesity.