Five Ways To Fight Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a disorder that affects more and more children throughout the world. Even though its causes may vary, a poor diet and lack of physical activity are a very dangerous combination. In this article we’ll give you some advice that you can use to teach your children how to fight childhood obesity.
Statistics are striking: one third of the children in the world are overweight. In other words, one in every three children is at risk of becoming obese.
And that’s not all; other publications provide even more alarming data. They claim that obesity in children under five years of age, is ten times more prevalent than it used to be in 1975. This means that currently, there are 124 million obese children worldwide.
Five ways to fight childhood obesity
If we want to avoid the huge risks that are associated with childhood obesity, we must act now. Here are five rules that your children should follow -with your help and support- to avoid obesity:
Working out is a must
Among all of its benefits, working out helps to burn fat and calories from your body. It also prevents certain heart diseases -that are associated with obesity- and lowers your risk of suffering from diabetes.
Working out also regulates your metabolism and body weight, and when combined, this helps you to rest well. All of these factors contribute to the well-being of our children.
Finally, you must keep in mind this simple, but true, equation: two hours spent playing outside are two hours that your child won’t spend sitting down to play video games or eat junk food.
Eat a healthy diet
You must teach your children about the importance of healthy eating, and ideally, from a very young age. This is perhaps the best lesson that adults can teach children, as it means that they will look after their health throughout their lifetime.
Therefore, remember that balance is always the most important aspect. You must encourage them to eat different fruits and vegetables, include cereals, meats -especially lean meats- and pasta in their diet too.
Moreover, you should limit their artificial sugar intake and reduce the amount of unhealthy foods with trans fats that they may eat, such as appetizers and snacks.
Be careful: limiting is not the same as eliminating. If you remove too many foods from your child’s diet, you’ll only increase their frustration and their anxiety to try anything new.
Even though it may sound contradictory, strict diets are not advisable for young children. Mainly because they can make a child feel under pressure and cause them to worry about their health.
This may cause feelings of anxiety and nervousness, or even worse, it could make them feel ashamed. They may feel self-conscious about eating in public or talking about their situation. And this brings the possibility of experiencing the rebound effect when they stop dieting.
It’s best to eat a healthy diet as a permanent lifestyle choice, and not as a temporary measure. This way, children will develop positive, long term habits, and avoid traumas and suffering.
Watch out for unhealthy habits
Video games, cellphones and TV are great entertainment devices. However, they can be counterproductive if children use them too much.
It’s extremely important that parents get involved and limit the amount of time that their children spend doing these activities. Encourage them to go outside, walk, explore, socialize with friends and find new activities to do.
It’s also a good idea to ask them to help with house chores or to run errands in exchange for money as a bonus. As adults, we sometimes have to think outside of the box to help in the fight against childhood obesity and without children even noticing that they’re working out.
Set an example
Children look to their parents as their role models. So, they won’t do anything that they don’t see their parents doing and they’ll mimic the attitudes and actions that they see every day.
If you’re a sedentary parent, you can’t expect your children to be amazing athletes. Of course, this is something that could happen, but it would be an exception, and not the norm.
Therefore, motivating your children to exercise with you is a great idea. You can practice a sport together, go skating, running or simply walking the dog. Any activity, no matter how small it may seem will help your children to have a positive attitude towards working out.
As you can see, fighting childhood obesity is something that both adults and children must do. As a matter of fact, adults need to take responsibility, as they must guide and act as leaders for their children.
Because of this, it’s essential to embrace a proactive -but mostly preventive- attitude towards this problem. Fighting childhood obesity before it begins is easy, and it will also help to protect your children’s self-esteem and emotional and social well-being.