3 Tips for Fighting Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is increasingly prevalent, with chronic diseases typically seen in adults also being attributed to the rising obesity rates in children. A multifaceted approach to fighting this epidemic can help children maintain healthier body weights and possibly not reach adulthood with chronic diseases.

Start Early

Many parents face finicky eaters, with vegetables being the primary battleground. The easiest way to minimize this problem is to start when children first begin eating solid foods. Make vegetables just a part of their meals. Generally, children who are exposed to a variety of foods earlier in life and consistently have fewer apprehensions about trying different foods. When you think about it, pushing certain foods because they are healthy creates the sense these foods are merely a barrier to eating the tastier foods. Children, who can act out of defiance, will object. When the vegetables are treated no different than other foods on the plate, they may be less likely to rebel.

Make Food a Family Affair

Children often model the behavior of their parents, and the way you eat will set the stage for them later in life. Try taking your child to the grocery store and focusing on foods around the perimeter. Most healthier and nutritious foods are located in these areas of the store. This can reduce the temptation for you and your child to select processed options. When your child reaches an age where they can understand more about the food they eat, it helps to keep them involved in the process of purchasing until the meal reaches the table.

Treat items are okay in moderation, such as once per week. The entire family can pick one day each week where they enjoy dessert, with everyone offering an opinion on what they want. If certain desserts are a big deal in your home, consider going out to purchase the item. This way, it can be a fun family event once per week, and since each person will have one serving, you do not have to worry about leftovers tempting everyone in the household.

Encourage Physical Activity

Physical activity is often lacking in children for various reasons. In some cases, it is a matter of technology being the primary focus, but in other situations, families may not live in environments where it is safe to play outside. Whenever possible, allocate a specific time where all technology is turned off, and everyone either goes outside or participates in a physical activity around the house. Try to find an activity that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. If you cannot go outside for any reason, consider investing in activities that can promote exercise around the house. Weight lifting, jumping rope, stationary bikes, or a treadmill are just a few options that can be done indoors.

Being more proactive in your child's relationship with food and exercise can reverse some instances of obesity or at least minimize weight gain. Establishing healthier practice earlier and turning these activities into part of your family's normal behavior will also play a role in your child's long-term health. Contact a local fitness center for more information and assistance.