Waging war against excess pounds isn’t exclusive to the adult world. Nowadays, there are plenty of kids who are struggling with their weight and the health concerns that result from unhealthy, junk food laden diets.
According to some of the latest figures from the CDC, approximately 2.7 million children and adolescents in the US aged 2-19 years are considered obese. That’s roughly 17% of the children nationwide. Even more sobering is the fact that The Kaiser Foundation (kff.org) reported that in Maryland alone, 31% of children aged 10-17 years are considered obese and the numbers have been on the increase in recent decades.
With fast food restaurants and convenience food marts (aka junk food markets) populating street corner from coast to coast, it comes as no surprise that our kids are heading for a diet crisis of epic proportion. Numerous studies from our nation’s leading health and wellness experts are squarely pointing the blame at the poor diets and an overabundance of highly accessible junk food (sugary foods and drinks) options available to our nation’s children. These same experts have gone as far as going on record to say our youngest generation is now facing a shortened life span due to a lack of proper diet and exercise.
The health and wellness team at BodyTech has prepared a few simple tips for parents and caretakers to help in the fight against childhood obesity, poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles.
Tips for preventing childhood obesity
- Its start with parents. Model correct eating habits and exercising regularly.
- Don’t expect your child to make major dietary changes over night.
- Phase in diet changes over time. Eliminate juices, sodas and other sugar laden foods.
- Teach your children the importance drinking water.
- Help your kids stay active.
- Teach your kids why it is good to exercise regularly.
- Eliminate junk food and other unhealthy temptations from your pantry.
- Reinvent family favorite dishes into healthier versions.
- Praise your children for making dietary choices and for exercising.
- Teach your child portion control and to slow down while eating.
- Involve your kids in the preparation of healthy meals.
- Shop for foods at the grocery together and discuss why certain foods are better choices.
- Bring healthy snacks with you when you go on outings and also have them ready to eat when children return from school each day.
- Avoid fast food restaurants.
- Ask older kids to find healthy new recipes you can prepare and try together.
- Teach older kids to read food labels.