5 Actionable Tips for Parents to Prevent Childhood Obesity
By Sania Waseem
It is no secret at all that childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate. It does not matter where you are located, childhood obesity is definitely a phenomenon that you may have noticed. So what exactly is it?
Childhood obesity is a state of being overweight while you are still young. This is a huge problem, not only because it affects the self-esteem of children but it is a precursor to many health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. It is not only beneficial but an absolute necessity to understand how to prevent childhood obesity. Here are 5 effective tips to prevent childhood obesity:
We can, in no way or form, stress the importance of exercise enough. The only way you and your children can lead a completely healthy lifestyle is by regularly exercising. Health experts recommend at least three days of cardiovascular exercise in a week for an hour daily. Exercise does not have to be confined to going to the gym or walking on a treadmill. Your child can join a sport of their liking which will help them burn calories and boost their metabolism. Exercise not only helps with weight loss but also helps to make your kids more active. Any form of exercise is definitely something you should consider for your child.
Some kids tend to lose interest after first few days of physical activity. This is where you need to offer them incentives for completing physical activities. Or better buy them a fitness tracker like a kids Fitbit. Kids not only love fancy fitness trackers but the rewards feature of these trackers is extremely helpful. You give them tasks, they complete those and get rewards as promised by you.
2. Reduce Screen Time
In today’s modern era of technology and electronics, our children have found many excuses not to go outside. With the availability of various electronic or battery operated games, our children can spend hours on the couch with their eyes glued to a screen. That screen may be a cellphone, video games, Nintendo DS or just plain old television.
Excessive screen time is one of the leading causes of obesity in children. When children spend all their free time in front of a screen, that takes them away from exercise and physical activity, both of which are crucial for a healthy life. As parents and caretakers, we should set the boundaries to when our children should or should not use these items.
3. Make Your Kids Eat Healthily
You have probably heard enough times how necessary your diet is to maintain an acceptable body weight. It is smart to avoid or reduce the intake of junk food. I am not suggesting that you eliminate everything your kids love but I do suggest that you portion your kids’ food in a more healthy way. You should learn to reduce portion sizes and count calories. We should be vigilant about different food types and how they harm or benefit our kids. Children struggling with obesity should avoid sugary foods and excess carbohydrates. Proteins and fibers are a good addition to a healthier lifestyle. If you are unsure of how to create a healthy diet, you could always go and ask a nutritionist for their opinion.
4. Create a Schedule
With kids, they need to fall into a schedule that can help them maintain a healthy lifestyle to attain a good physical appearance. The best way to work with children is by adding discipline in their daily routines. If they know the quantity and quality of their meals along with the amount and length of their exercises, they will be more prone to quickly adapt to the lifestyle that benefits them.
I recommend that you seek the help of professionals. Fitness coaches and health & diet nutritionists can really help when it comes to formulating a plan and schedule for obese individuals. They can help instruct you on what to eat and what exercises will benefit you the most. The only thing that you can go wrong with creating a schedule is that you will fail to follow it. So go ahead and give it a shot.
5. Educate your Children
The fact of the matter is that your children do not know how much they are damaging themselves by not taking care of their health. They need to know the harm they may be causing and how necessary a healthy lifestyle really is. The need to realize that obesity is not only harmful to the body but also harms their mind and thinking capabilities. In the age of idolizing body types, they start looking down on themselves and damage their self-esteem. Teach them to take care of themselves for their own sake. It is absolutely crucial to educate them and warn them and who is better to do that than their own parents?
Childhood obesity is no doubt a dilemma that we are facing. We need to find ways to educate the general public to prevent or end obesity. Obesity causes leading medical problems, which are truly a hazard to humanity. Not only do we need to pluck this evil from the root, but we also need to help those who have already been affected.
Who else will protect our children if we don’t?
What do you suggest we do?
Sania Waseem is an avid reader with a passion for writing. She loves writing about kids health and fitness.
Besides writing, she has got a good sense of graphic design as well.