Obesity has become a major health problem over the past few decades. While losing weight and getting healthy is difficult for adults, the problem is even more challenging when talking about childhood obesity.
No person ever wants to be overweight, but unhealthful eating choices and too little exercise are firmly ingrained habits that are difficult to change. Some of the blame can be placed on parents who do not understand the health risks of obesity, but more often children gain weight because their parents lead a busy life and choose convenience foods over healthful foods.
Stock the Kitchen with Healthful Foods
While most kids will gravitate toward snacks with too much sugar, fat and salt, they will enjoy more nutritious fruits and nuts just as much. It is important to limit between meal snacks so the children will be interested in eating the healthful meals that are served.
It is also important that parents limit serving sizes and make sure children are eating a balanced diet.
Limit or Eliminate Soda and Sweetened Drinks
There is a high concentration of sugar in soda and sweetened beverages. Children should drink an adequate amount of water in addition to milk and natural fruit juices to get the nutrients they need while avoiding the sugars that can contribute to childhood obesity.
Parents should not keep any beverages containing artificial sweeteners in their home because they are also unhealthful.
Encourage Physical Activity in Children
Young children have a natural tendency to run and play, but too much exposure to electronic devices such as computers and television can make electronic entertainment more tempting as they grow older.
Parents who are busy working and maintaining a home may appreciate the peace and quiet in their home while the kids are watching TV or playing computer games, but these activities must be limited.
Unfortunately, it is not always safe to allow kids outside to play with their friends, so parents should make it a point to get out with them and enjoy physical activities together.
Parents must make healthful food and lifestyle choices for their children, and most of them will when they realize the importance of good health for their kids.
The incidence of childhood obesity, diabetes and the development of heart disease can be greatly reduced when parents are able to help their children maintain a healthy weight. Obese children also suffer from poor self-esteem, and this can limit their outlook for a positive future and fulfilled life.