As a parent your childs health is important to you and you will do everything you can to ensure their wellbeing. On occasion things that can impact the health and wellbeing of your child(ren) are out of your control, so you focus on the areas where you can help. One important factor that you do have some control over is preventing childhood obesity at home. According to KidsHealth.org 1 out 3 children in America is considered overweight. That is an alarming number of children, some of which will face life threatening effects on their health due to their weight.
Here you will learn about just some of the steps you can take and options that are available to you to help keep your kids' weight under control and enforce healthier habits, when it comes to food and exercise.
To some it is surprising to learn that what you think is an average portion size is often more than double what a single serving actually should be. When you take into consideration that the average child may be consuming as much as 2 to 3 times the amount of food, per meal, than is recommended, it is no surprise that homes across America are dealing with an epidemic when it comes to childhood obesity.
There are many things you can do in the home to prevent childhood obesity and overeating. To begin consider downgrading your dishes (plates, bowls...). By limiting how much room you have to place food on your plate you can take your first steps towards controlling how much food is consumed by a child at one time.
Another step is to get educated on what the proper portion sizes are for both you as a parent and your kids. There are helpful diagrams and tools both online and off that will guide you on how much of which foods is appropriate, healthy and recommended.
Healthy Foods and Snacks
It is not news that our children should be being offered well-balanced meals as well as snacks of fruits and vegetables as opposed to chips, candy and other unhealthy foods and snacks. If fruits are not something that has regularly been offered in your home then making the switch over to these healthier choices may be difficult at first, but the benefits to your child's health will be worth the effort.For parents looking to offer something more than plain fruits and veggies or looking to overhaul meals to healthier options then healthy eating cook books are a great place to start looking for weight-friendly recipes that the whole family can enjoy.
Keep Them Active
Another factor involved in overcoming and preventing childhood obesity at home, is finding ways to keep them active. This means limiting TV and other stationary activities and replacing them with something that'll get their heart pumping and metabolism working.
Some good activities to consider are swimming, dance, gymnastics, kid aerobics, sports (often offered through schools or after school programs) or simply even running around the yard. For kids that are into video games; look for consoles or add-on that get them involved. Some options include the Wii or the Kinect for Xbox 360. Both offer games that are designed to make you move.
If weight and health is an issue for the whole family consider getting a membership or pass for the YMCA or another activity center (if available in the area). Getting everyone involved can help to keep kids motivated.
Leading by Example as a Method of Preventing Childhood Obesity at Home
Kids will learn from those around them. If parents and siblings make unhealthy eating and activity choices there is a good chance that they will adapt to that way of living and make those same poor decisions. As a parent -- teaching your child that an apple is just as appealing as a candy bar can go a long way. Keeping a reign on your food portions, watching the type of foods that you eat and staying active can have a great impact on teaching them healthier habits.
Regular Health Checkups can Help Prevent Childhood Obesity
There are other circumstances and conditions, besides unhealthy or over-eating, that can cause weight gain. There are also conditions that can be exacerbated by exercise and other lifestyle changes. So, it is important to take your kids in for regular health checkups. Discuss any diet, exercise or lifestyle changes with a healthcare professional before incorporating them.
Identify the Cause
There are many reasons that kids may not eat right and if your kid(s) already display poor eating habits, understanding what's behind it can make a world of difference. Identifying the underlying cause can make overcoming and preventing obesity in children, easier. Unhealthy eating habits, in children, can simply be the caused by a lack of healthy food options but it can also be triggered by other things such as health issues and depression.
Sometimes eating habits are not at fault. Other medical conditions may be to blame for the added pounds. This is something that needs to be addressed with their doctor or pediatrician.
Getting Educated on the Facts Surrounding Childhood Obesity
Knowledge is empowering for kids and adults alike. There are hundreds of resources that provide healthy living information that pertains specifically to kids and information on support programs and websites for parents and kids. One option which is available is speaking with a nutrition counselor to get the facts and perhaps a few well suited ideas to make any needed changes. There is also an abundance of information on how childhood obesity can impact an adolescents' health and the dangers that an overweight child can face.
The CDC offers an array of information that every parent should read on the risks of obesity as well as guides on what parents and children can do to overcome and prevent childhood obesity at home. Other helpful tools can be found at linked sites, as well as on sites like obesityhelp.com, which offers the following trackers: Body, nutrition, activity and medical, as well as a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator.
Childhood obesity does not just affect kids while they are still adolescents. Overweight kids are far more likely to grow up to be obese adults.