How to Prevent Obesity in Young Children – It has to be done!!

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?Child Obesity, how to prevent it

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.Child Obesity

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.Benefits of Juicing

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.

Weight loss: Can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of complications related to obesity.Child obesity Self Esteem

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

Do you know someone who would benefit from reading this article?

Help them by sharing this with them…

Thank you,  Helen

I beHelen Vellacame a writer, speaker and holistic life coach so I could  make a difference by teaching from my personal experiences and also teaching a great empowering tool. My mission is to empower everyone to be their true self. if you want to find out more about me click here

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  1. Reply

    This is great post and very informative. I think parents should pay more attention to healthy eating habits and more physical activity of their children!!!

    • helenvella


      Totally agree with you everyone needs to pay more attention to what children are eating and getting the obesity out of schools.

    • helenvella


      Thank you the more people are aware the more that can be changed for the future.

  2. Reply

    These are very helpful tips to help prevent obesity in young children. Particularly in current times when junk food seem unavoidable and obesity is gripping the world, at a much younger age than ever

    • helenvella


      My point exactly it is world wide challenge and we need to change the perception of everyone regarding having healthy foods at affordable prices.

  3. Reply

    Great information here. I think mainly the youth are getting more obese as years go on due to not enough food education . I see that a getting so much better now though. Ree love30

    • helenvella


      It is getting a little better but there is still a lot more work to do to bring peoples education up to the standard to prevent child obesity.

  4. Reply

    I am a CFT and I love seeing information like this spread to bring more awareness. I think it’s pretty sad how PE becomes an elective during the later years in school instead of implementing it all throughout. However, you shared very great tips here that can be easily incorporated. Thank you!

    • helenvella


      I agree kids do not get enough exercise at school and why they stop PE in some schools baffle me.

  5. Reply

    Yeah, it’s a huge problem. And it’s very sad watching how people destroy themselves. I switched to veganism about two years ago and now I’m the happiest person on earth. It’s very important to know what you eat and to eat as healthy as possible. Great article, thanks for sharing.

    Cheers, Eliza

    • helenvella


      Always : I agree totally with you knowing how your body reacts to food is very important and preventing obesity should be on everyone’s agenda especially schools. Introducing PE back in schools again would be a great help.

  6. Reply

    I think it can depend but also the ways of this country portion control etc. My son was a big baby and born long so he has been lean. He has never been a chunky baby. Now he is three and as slim are can be. If pants dont have the adjustable waistband or aren’t the stretchy jogging pants they will slide right off. He may eat the same compared to another child and their body is completely different. Their body may carry it differently.

    • helenvella


      There are thoughts about metabolism etc and not everyone digest and absorbs the same way. However knowing ones body is crucial so that you know how your body responds to different drinks, foods and supplements.

    • helenvella


      Having all the internet access and all the devices can be so back for many reasons but more importantly communication with each other, teaching and learning about social skills.

  7. Reply

    I think not only parents but everyone could benefit from this post (: It is informative and gives great insight about stats when it comes to health!

    • helenvella


      I think the schools could do with more education on foods and supplements and also serve in the school more healthier choices.

  8. Reply

    You’ve made some valid points. However, the real issue is that the cheapest, inexpensive food is processed. So it’s a continuous cycle that keeps the lower incomes at a disadvantage.

    • helenvella


      Very true and it is so unfortunate that healthy food is more expensive than cheap fast food. I know some fast food places are changing some of their ingredients and offering healthier options like salad as well. We just have to see what happens in the future.

  9. Reply

    I think it’s so important to eat as a family around a table every night – and put the gadgets away! Apart from teaching good eating habits it helps the ability to socialise and gives everyone a chance to spend some quality time together. Some great advice here – we need to look after our children!

    • helenvella


      Totally agree with you. I have the best conversations with my grand kids when we are at the dinner table and I always encourage conversations and our dinners can last quite some time. It brings families closer together too.

  10. Reply

    I know that there are a lot of opinions on this subject. But I have a 1.5 year old and I cook daily, we play outside daily and we eat healthy. I have never been ‘obese’ in fact I was quote the opposite and had a severe eating disorder until I had my son. I feel like people can get obsessive, so they need to find their own way of doing things. Right now I feel like I’m obese even though I’m probably not.
    So yes, kids can eat healthy, but don’t make them eat so healthy that they feel bad about eating any other way or seeing themselves as obese in the future even if they aren’t.

    • helenvella


      You are so right. There should not be a big thing about eating when you are bringing up your children because as you say it can turn into an eating disorder. Kids should not have to worry about what they eat, the parents should do that and then the kids just eat what the parents suggest to them. I know that when you have an eating disorder you are going through things and I would suggest you read my book on Emotional Eating, I did an interview with a person who had an eating disorder and she explains thing in the book about her condition. I also suggest how to help get through it.

    • helenvella


      Totally agree there is sugar in everything we eat and drink. Realizing how much sugar is in what we are consuming is key to adjusting your sugar intake.

  11. Reply

    It is really the responsibility of the parent to ensure that the kids are eating healthy meals at most imes. Thanks for sharing these points even though some might get offended with it and pull up the genetic obesity card

    • helenvella


      Information is knowledge. If there is a genetic reason for being overweight there are still things you can do to control it. I have a dear friend who has a medical condition that makes it hard to keep the weight off but she still for the most part controls her diet to stay within a healthy weight.

  12. Kristi


    I believe lots of people are taking the right steps to encourage healthier options. I think it will just take time. The same way it took us lots of time to develop the unhealthy habits is the same way it may take us to undeveloped them. Thanks for sharing this info!

    • helenvella


      I agree with you it takes time to get informed and to understand what is good and what is not good for your health. With such busy lifestyles it is so easy just to get fast foods.

  13. Reply

    As an overweight mother, it is a big fear that k will pass my habits to my kids. Thankfully, so far so good.

    However, I don’t believe it is child abuse. I don’t believe parents intentionally make their kids fat. I think it’s uneducation and the fact that most believe Dollar Menu Dinners are cheaper than healthy options. Americans need to be taught from preschool how to take care of their bodies.

    • helenvella


      Totally agree that everyone should be taught about health and nutrition as early as possible. Unfortunatley it is not affordable for some people to eat organic and fresh foods but there are inexpensive ways to eat healthy non the less. Thanks for your comments.

  14. Reply

    This is a great post Helen, it is so relevant as in today’s world we are seeing where our young children are becoming diseased with diabetes and heart problems. Thanks for the tips of ways to control our children’s diet, they are very logical and practical. Is it that child obesity is caused by diabetes or high blood pressure and so forth, like it is a symptom of of these sicknesses; or the obesity causes the sicknesses?

    • helenvella


      Obesity causes the illness’s so controlling the kids diets are the most important thing. The more people are aware the more we might be able to change things.

  15. Dan


    I hate seeing childhood obesity! It’s almost cruel. In my opinion, the number 1 problem is the amount of sugar found in child snacks and drinks. Kids are getting addicted to sugar, which leads to them getting diagnosed with ADHD because everyone just thinks they’re too hyper. Even baby snacks have disgusting amounts of sugar!

    • helenvella


      You are so right. Sugar addiction is very real. We really need to read labels and make sure the kids do not get addicted to processed food and sugars.

  16. Reply

    I have a 3 year old grandaughter who lives with us and I am constantly trying to keep her on healthy snacks. Its a bit early yet, but there will be a time when we will have to tear her away from a TV or tablet(hopefully not) and get outside to play. Plus the fact that it is getting cold outside now doesn’t help. But since I am all about getting exercise, she can come with me as I walk the dogs or whatever…

    • helenvella


      Getting her out is a very good idea. 3 years is not too young, walking the dogs all wrapped up nice and cozy is a great idea. Also she can also do things around the house that has movement, cooking, cleaning, going up and down stairs playing with the dog. I wish you good luck.

  17. Reply

    One thing that I have found that works for my family is we do a sit down family dinner at the dining room table every night. This tradition helps in many ways because they know they have to finish their dinner if they want any snacks afterwards. This helps prevent the afterschool devouring of snacks and junk food because they know that dinner is not far away.

    • Reply

      Good idea,especially having dinner together. However having them finish dinner if they are not hungry leads for them to eat more than they would like 🙂

  18. Reply

    I think obesity is prevalent not only in the West but also in Asian country. Well, at least I am aware that it’s affecting children in my country. Majority of the foods we are putting into the mouth of our children contain non-organic ingredients that could have cause this problem.

    There’s a common belief among Asian that it’s good for kids to be fat rather than skinny, but I think this is not healthy for them. Some never shed off those fats when they reached teenager.

    • Reply

      You are right it is not healthy to be heavier which leads to obesity and lots of self esteem issues later on. There is more to the food we eat than just looks. What we eat we become and we develop disease, pains and emotional problems. The whole world needs to be looking to our food source and remedy the chemicals and harmful ingredients. Thanks for posting Kenny.

  19. Reply

    I found a lot of value in what you said here. I am always encouraging folks to take their kids to the park or just get them out in the back yard and chase a ball or play on a swing set, something to get the blood pumping. I was focusing more on spending quality time to stimulate their hearts and minds, but yours is a very valid point as well!

    My youngest daughter suffers from acid reflux so we had to start feeding her cereal and baby food months and months before she was supposed to have it. Now, at 20 months, she is a bit chunky. Not as much as when she was younger. But some people had some real hurtful and downright disrespectful things to say about her weight. I plan to home school her until her weight evens out so she won’t be tormented in school by insensitive bullies. She is very active though so I am anticipating she will come out of her pudgy stage fairly soon. Plus we were already making healthier foods and snacks for the girls so that will go a long way as well!

    Really grateful for the information!

    • Reply

      I would look at maybe trying alternative therapy like chiropractic or acupuncture for acid reflux also apple cider vinegar, once you clear that up then she will be able to eat whatever she wants and be able to metabolize and digest foods also. I am sure she will be at a good weight once she starts running around 🙂

  20. Reply

    Thanks for all the great information. It is so sad that this needs to be of concern now days. It seems with all of the preservatives and chemicals all around us, it’s hard for any of us to have a fighting chance. No wonder why the majority of us is sick and overweight. That is why it’s so important for us to be aware of what we ingest, spray on us or inhale. Thanks for bringing this to light. The more we educate ourselves and put what we learn to practice the better off we’ll all be.

    • Reply

      You are welcome Cary and thank you so much for your comments. I agree with you we all have to learn to read labels and research what the ingredients are and what they do to us.

  21. Reply

    This is quite in interesting topic and today I especially thought about it a lot.
    I have a 4 year old son, who does not like food, when it is meal time he becomes depressed and out of control then I have to force him to eat, but I had a conversation with a lady once who’s son was over weight and she told us never to force our children to eat, if they don’t want food then they simply don’t want food.

    I am so confused about this but I still try to push him to eat because he seems so skinny but extremely hyperactive.

    Thanks for sharing this information it sounds really interesting.

    • Reply

      In my experience with my own daughter, there were days she would eat all day and then there were days where she did not want to eat at all. When I asked the professionals about this they said that you should let a child eat when they are hungry and not when society says we should eat. We have been conditioned to eat 3 meals a day at certain times. We should eat when we are hungry regardless of what time it is. Eating at certain times is a learned behavior, therefore I would let him eat when he wants and make sure when he does eat he is eating nutrition.

  22. Reply

    Hi Helen. Thank you for the great article and the opportunity to share my point of you on this subject.

    In my opinion, being overweight is a result of a series of bad habits. Someone can’t be overweight just be eating unhealthy and too much.

    My parents used to work 5 days a week as well, I wasn’t eating right at all, I used to play a lot of video games. But I was playing soccer as well. And this kept me healthy. When I grew up I took matters in my own hands.

    Now, I am working out, practicing yoga and eating healthy because I made that choice. No one forced me. No one told me that this is what I should do. Everyone has a choice.

    Blaming the food companies for putting chemicals in foods won’t end obesity. Everyone could stop buying those products and find another solution. You can grow your very own garden and become a vegetarian. This is one, among a million other solutions. But no one will put this kind of effort toward a healthier life.

    Being obese is a result of poor spirit. If a little kid is obese, this is a result of his parent’s poor spirit.

    As you stated, everyone needs to take matter into their own hands. There is no mass action that could be taken. Problems like obesity will be eliminated only by true individual change.

    If someone can’t help their own self, then no one else can.


    • Reply

      Very good point Harry and I totally agree with you. Blaming anyone but yourself is not the answer. Everyone must take control of their own health and their children until they become of an age they can buy their own foods.

  23. Reply

    I think people should really be taking obesity seriously as it’s a genuine health concern and can take away from enjoyment of life in general. Thank you so much for the post! It’s useful and informative and the tips are great. I’m always for healthy lifestyle and I’ll share this with all my friends who have kids and families, as well as my own family!

  24. Umberto


    Hello Helen,
    I’m Italian and even if our food is considered one of the best and healthy in the world,
    I notice during the years that our habits in eating are getting worse.
    When I was young there were less fast food and junk food around and with the exceptions of few children,generally we were not overweight.
    But over the years more children were becoming overweight … and maybe, as you sustain,
    there are more factors involved in this process.
    I think your post helps people realize that we have to care about the health of our children.
    It’s really important for a child to practice any kind of sport…and we parents, should not give in to their whims.

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