Basically, there are three main ways parents can do to avoid childhood obesity: healthy eating habit, exercise and healthy lifestyle.
HEALTHY EATING HABIT
The goal of healthy eating habit for children is to reduce or avoid excessive weight gain while allowing normal growth. The most important thing is to balance calories intake and other necessary nutrition. For new born baby, it is recommended to feed breast milk only for at least the first six month of the baby’s life. Breast milk protects the child against obesity in later life. The longer a child is breastfed, the less likely he will become overweight during childhood and adulthood.
Today’s children eat more fast food, sugary food and drinks, processed snack, greasy stuff and other high in fat and calories foods. Consumption of these kinds of foods needs to be limited. This is some ways to do that:
- Choose nutritious snack, such as low-fat milk, wholegrain, fruits and vegetable. Don’t keep too much sugary snack like crackers, cookies, chocolate, and ice creams in your refrigerator. Put healthy snack within the children’s reach.
- Avoid sweetened drinks, such as soft drink, soda, bottled tea and fruit juice. It makes your child feel too full to eat anything and the calories are really high.
- Limit eating out in restaurants, the menu usually high in calories and fat.
- Reduce consumption of saturated fat in fried and greasy food
It is also important not to eat excessively. Serve only reasonable portion of food at mealtime and discourage your children from eating when not hungry.
EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE
Children spend many hours watching television, playing video games or surfing the internet. To make matter worse, they often snacking or eating while living these sedentary lifestyle. One way to balance calories intake is by promoting more physical activities. Such habits help building strong bones and muscle too. Here are some ways you can do for your children to have more active life:
- Screen time should be limited to at least only two hours a day and younger children under two years old do not need to watch TV at all.
- Encourage children to do anything that involves movement. Simple things help such as walking to school, walking the dog or helping parents cleaning the house. Unstructured play indoor and outdoor such as jumping rope, playing hide and seek can also burn calories.
- Ask your children to join club for individual or group sport activity. It would be fun. If your children don’t like sport, you can ask them to join dancing class, it also promotes a lot of movement.
To avoid childhood obesity the involvement of whole member of the family is necessary. Perhaps, it will change family lifestyle. Make healthy eating habit and regular physical activities as family project. Setting family mealtime for example, will discourage children eating in from of screen, help establish healthy eating habit, keep portion in check and provide valuable family time.
One other important thing, if you ask your child to eat veggies, then you have to eat veggies yourself. If you ask your child to play out door, you should spend more time out door too. By setting good example and enlisting all family members in this habit, not only you will make your child healthier but you will increase your life quality too. Choose activities that whole family can enjoy together such as mountain hiking, or going to bowling alley.
Promoting healthy lifestyle needs discipline not only on the children but also the adults.