The incidence of childhood obesity is alarming. More and more kids are less active, engage in less team sport, and play more video and computer games than ever before. Statistics show that over 30% of children ages 6-11 are overweight and 15% are considered obese. The numbers are almost the same for adolescents ages 12-19. Overall, childhood obesity has increased more than 4 times in the last two decades.
It is more important than ever to make encourage children to be active and to make sure they are eating a well balanced diet of correct portion size. There is no need to continue engaging in the behavior we grew up with such as cleaning your entire plate and getting dessert as a reward for good behavior. LIVE Lean Today promotes eating 5 small meals a day and there is no reason this shouldn’t start with our children. Here are some other tips for creating a healthier lifestyle for our children.
• Reduce sugar and increase calcium by choosing low fat dairy products. Calcium has been shown in recent years to assist in weight management.
• Instill healthy eating habits in children from the beginning. When a child is young, they don’t know the difference between healthy and not healthy. We teach them. The decisions you make regarding what to buy at the grocery store and what the family eats will have a direct effect on their health as a child and their buying decisions as an adult.
• Keep the food in the kitchen. Allowing snack food in the play room where the computer, video games and television are will easily result in an empty box if you’re not paying attention. Have them eat their snack in the kitchen and then return to what they were doing.
• Set the example. If you want your children to eat healthy and be active, you should be leading the way.
• Make small changes. If you are already in a situation where big changes need to be made, make small changes first. For example, if their normal routine is to have 4 cookies as an after school snack, cut it to 2, or switch to sherbet instead of ice cream. I would have to drink a full glass of water before I could have soda with dinner, by the time dinner came, I drank half the soda I would have.
• Keep the serving dishes off the table. If the giant plate of pasta is right in front of you, it’s inviting you to say you want more. Dish up at the counter and only bring your plate to the table. This should reduce the tendency for wanting a second helping.
• Always consult your doctor, or Registered Dietician to get advice as to the changes that should be made and how fast to make them.
The entire family should be active and eat healthy. Don’t make a child feel isolated from siblings because they are watching their weight. It doesn’t feel good to see the skinny older brother eating whatever they want. Choose to make healthy living the lifestyle for the whole family.