Fighting Childhood Obesity One Bite at a Time

Healthy eating and exercise should be an important part of your children’s everyday lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children and adolescents affected with obesity has tripled since the 1970s and it is now estimated that 1 in 5 school age children and young people between the ages of 6 to 19 are obese in the United States.  These are shocking statistics! 

Experts agree that obesity begins when there is excessive daily caloric intake in relation to daily caloric expenditure.  Poor food choices are at the root of this excessive intake, as usually choices involve fast food rather than healthy food.  For example, children love to eat pizza, but what type of pizza do they consume?  Typically, it is the pizza with double or triple extra cheese.  And, what about the types of drinks that are consumed with a meal?  Again, these are typically carbonated sodas with considerable sugar and calories. 

The key then is for a parent to introduce healthy food and drinks into their children’s diet.  Have food and snacks available that are nutritious and low in processed sugar.   Encourage them to drink more water as it is recommended that children drink 5 to 10 glasses of water a day, depending on their age.  As options for fast food or food and drink high in sugar and calories are diminished, your children will slowly be weaned from them and toward more healthy eating habits.  Please understand that this process will not be easy.  Sugar is an addiction and your children will be craving it.  However, offering them fruits with natural sugar as an alternative is very helpful.

In addition to changing what your children eat and drink, parents must encourage them to exercise.  Experts lament over the fact that children have become very inactive, opting to sit and play video games or watch tv for hours rather than go outside and play.   It is estimated that children now spend four hours a day watching tv. 

Instead of telling your children to exercise more, try joining them and encouraging them to exercise.  Take some time out of your day to exercise with them, if even for 15 minutes. Jog around the block, play a sport, or even join a dance class! The opportunities are endless and choosing an activity that your children will enjoy is the best way to ensure that they will keep up with it.

What our children eat every day fuels their bodies and ultimately their lives.  Choose to provide good, nutritious food and drinks for them to help them build lifelong good habits.

August is Kids Eat Right Month – Celebrate it with Your Family

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, has declared August, 2016 to be Kids Eat Right Month as part of its initiative to promote healthy eating habits among children.  If good, healthy eating habits are established when children are young, studies show that these habits will continue into adulthood. 

Here are some of the tips that are given:

1.  Teach your children about nutrition.  Here is where reading comes into play.  Find websites and articles that teach your children about the nutritional values of different foods.  Read and discuss these with your children.  This will help them develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for nutrition.  When you’re not around, they will be able to make intelligent decisions for themselves.

2. Take your children grocery shopping and read the ingredients of products off of the packages.  Search the internet for healthy recipes and have them participate in preparing meals. 

3. Help your children plan breakfasts and lunches.  During those busy weekdays, we tend to grab whatever is quick and convenient.  Stop … take time to plan differently.  Fruits and vegetables should be staples of meals.  Additionally, experts say that children love colorful meals.  Have them write down different menus with a variety of items, and then assist them with the follow-through. 

4. Have healthy snacks around the house.  We all know how children love to snack.  Be wise and plan for a variety of healthy snacks rather than just chips, sodas, and cookies.  Here is where different fruit and vegetables with dips can be introduced.    

5. Make sure to include activities for them too.  Kids love to run and play.  Developing an active lifestyle first requires a healthy meal.

For more information, visit the website by CLICKING HERE.