5 Ways to Fight Childhood Obesity
Obesity in adults is a serious health concern, but when it starts in childhood it can be even more of a significant problem. Fortunately, there are ways to fight back against childhood obesity. By doing that, parents can work toward raising a generation of children who won’t see being overweight or obese as okay from a health standpoint. Here are five tips to focus on if you want to help keep your children at a healthy weight.
1. Limit Screen Time
Children who spend all of their time parked in front of a TV or computer are more likely to be obese than children who don’t. That’s true of watching actual TV programming, and also true of playing video games or using the internet.
No matter which of those activities kids are engaging in, it makes them sedentary and also makes it easy for them to snack absentmindedly, which can lead to hundreds of extra calories per day.
2. Limit Access to Soda
While it’s not necessarily bad to have a soda on a special occasion, children who drink a lot of soda, especially on a daily basis, are more likely to have problems with their weight. Soda is mostly empty calories and a lot of added sugar, both of which are bad for waistlines and can contribute to extra pounds. By limiting how much soda your children are allowed to drink, you can give them a treat sometimes and also help them stay at a healthy weight.
3. Sign Children Up for Sports
Children need to be active, and signing them up for sports can help them stay that way. They’ll make friends, learn a sport, get exercise, and help avoid obesity. It can keep them much healthier than they may be otherwise, and it may also build self-esteem and help with their mental health and confidence. It’s important to find a sport they like, though, instead of forcing them into one they won’t enjoy.
4. Set a Bedtime
Kids need more sleep than adults, and there are studies that show links between lack of sleep and weight gain. That can start as early as childhood, so make sure your children get the sleep they need. Especially when they have to get up early for school, they should be going to bed early enough to let them get the required amount of sleep for their age group.
5. Cook Healthy Meals and Provide Healthy Snacks
The kind of food you keep in the house can be important to avoiding childhood obesity. If they grow up with health snacks and meals, and if they grow up seeing their parents and siblings eating those things, as well, it can help them stick with healthy eating as they get older.
By cooking food most of the time instead of buying fast food, and by choosing healthy snacks instead of candy, you model great behaviors that your children can learn to follow. Plus, they can’t eat “junk food” if it’s not available to them, so keeping it out of the house can go a long way.