Tips that Parents Can Follow to Prevent Childhood Obesity
In recent years, the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has increased considerably. As families move away from home prepared meals toward fast food, pre-packaged food, excessive consumption of soda, and other unhealthy food choices, today’s children are at high risk for obesity and, as a result, a number of additional health conditions.
As processed food options have increased, children have also become less active. Sedentary lifestyle habits develop in early childhood. Instead of putting your child in front of a television or allowing him or her to play endless hours of video games, it is important to encourage physical activities such as biking or playing outside with their friends. Make it a habit to go on walks with your children or to enjoy other engaging physical activities that will improve the health of the entire family.
Many families mistakenly believe that their tendency toward obesity is hereditary. While there are a few hereditary factors that may increase or decrease your metabolism, dietary habits are usually the primary reason that people gain weight. Unfortunately, poor dietary habits are typically passed down from generation to generation. If your family has a history of eating foods that are loaded with trans fats, sugar, and other foods that tend to cause weight gain, you can break the cycle by beginning to make healthier food choices.
While working on making positive dietary changes and increasing the physical activities that your child performs, remember to maintain a positive attitude about food and body image. Set realistic goals and focus on good health instead of specific weight goals. If only one child is struggling to maintain a healthy weight, do not single that child out. Instead, focus on healthy living as a family and work together to make healthy changes. Your children will then be able to reap the rewards of living a healthier lifestyle.
If you have questions about managing childhood obesity, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian and nutritionist.