How to prevent obesity in young children.
Obesity is a major problem, especially in young children. Over 3 million cases in the USA per year.
Who is to blame? Is there anyone to blame? What has changed for people in the western world to get bigger and bigger?
Childhood obesity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. There may be no symptoms apparent other than weight that’s above normal for that child’s age and height.
Improving the entire family’s diet and exercise habits is one of the best ways to achieve a healthy weight in a child.
The western people are getting bigger and bigger daily, but there is good news, some food companies and restaurants are making changes to menus, you can see the calorie and fat content in the dish, some are even using organic foods with less chemicals in the food to help with this. Or are they?
Is it too late for some and how sad is it that? Children to-day may not live as long as their parents due to the foods and chemicals they have been fed since they were born.
Is it child abuse when an 18-month-old toddler is overweight? These children are not in control of what they eat or how much they eat. The people who look after them are. Schools, day care, grandparents, parents all play a role in a child’s health and wellness. Even if they themselves have weight issues is it right for them to put that on their children?
These children are not in control of what they eat or how much they eat. The people who look after them are. Schools, day care, grand parents, parents all play a role in a child’s health and wellness. Even if they themselves have weight issues is it right for them to put that on their children?
More than 1 in 5 children between the ages of 6-17 are now considered overweight.
The world for a child has changed so much over the years. Now it is not safe to have your kids play outside while dinner is getting ready. Getting a child to do something other than play video games or watch youtube on their phones and other devices takes planning. This is one of the reasons Children are heavier than they were in generations previous. The schools also do not provide time for exercise and play time either. This is affecting a rise in heart disease.
With parents being so busy working so they can support the family, the needs of keeping a child healthy and balanced is often not considered. This is not something that is taught because it never needed to before. Society has changed so much, there are so many fast good alternatives for dinner and when consumed on a daily basis is not providing the nutrition everyone needs to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
How can you help yourself?
Plan meals as a family together, make a shopping list from the meal plan and then prepare the foods together. My daughter is a single mother with 2 girls. She prepares with the girls on a Sunday their lunch for the week, their snacks, and their dinners. She has mason jars and puts the ingredients into the mason jars which the girls then take to school for their lunch and snacks.
When you prepare healthy meals together it does not have to be something that takes hours to prep and cook. During the work week, the meals can easily be made with simple recipes. If you live in a hotter climate then there are various cold meals that are easy to put together.
Being informed of ingredients in processed and prepared foods is key, knowing how the ingredients affect your body and whether it is inflammatory food or heavy in carbs and sugars.
Moderate the amount of wheat in the diet, bread, pasta, pizza. Wheat bloats and also is a heavy carb which turns into fat if not used as energy.
Sugars are the first thing the body will use as energy, therefore moderate how much sugar is in the foods being eaten by the family. Read what the diabetes society says about sugar
Portion Size is key to eating what is necessary for your body fuel. Use smaller plates, when eating out ask for a takeout box as your order your meal and put half of it in the box and then eat the other half from your plate. The children can share or order family style and everyone share from the table.
Snacks and desserts encourage fresh fruit and frozen yogurt for snacks and desserts instead of chocolate, ice cream and pie which all have high sugar content.
Limit screen time: Limiting the amount of time children spend watching TV, playing video games, and using computers, tablets and smartphones.
Physical exercise: Aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health. If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.
If you are doing all of the above and your child is still putting on weight then please get them assessed for allergies or anything else which could influence weight gain. When you are heavier as a young child the battle to maintain weight at a healthy level will be a life long challenge. This also affects self esteem
We as parents owe it to our children to give them the best start in their lives and that includes their health as a number 1 priority. You can find out more information from the Mayo Clinic
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Thank you, Helen
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