6 Steps to Beating Childhood Obesity
These days kids would rather spend time on the computer than go outside and kick a ball around or ride their bikes. And with all the junk food advertisements aimed at children by the media, us parents definitely have our jobs cut out for us.
The bottom line is our lifestyles have changed. We don't walk as much as we used to. We eat pre-packaged or fast foods instead of home cooked meals. And what exercise can compete with video games?
Times have definitely changed but that doesn't mean we have to completely give up. It's just a matter of putting some simple measures into place.
Here are some easy tips to ensure your kids develop a life-long healthy lifestyle.
1. Limit your kids television, computer and video games time. This may not be easy at first, but be persistent. Suggest an activity they can do, or better yet go outside with them and join in. Children learn through example, so if you're all set to go for a bike ride they may just want to join you.
2. Get your kids involved in the family food shopping. Make a list of healthy foods everyone agrees on and point out the health benefits to your kids. You'll be surprised at how open to eating healthy your kids can be. You don't have to drastically cut out the cakes and cookies altogether, but instead let each child choose one item they can enjoy as a special treat. This teaches kids to learn about moderation and that , yes, they can have cookies or chocolates as treats not as regular food staples.
3. Don't super size your kids. Be careful to serve kid appropriate food portions. Remember, if they're not fully satisfied they can simply go back for seconds. Also, teach them to eat slowly and take breaks between mouthfuls to allow the brain to register when it's full.
4. Try to avoid branding any foods as "bad for you". Instead focus on teaching your kids everything can be enjoyed in moderation. This takes the pressure off them and gets rid of the diet mentality which can set them up for a life of yo-yo dieting.
5. Be more active! Simply stated, kids need more activity in their lives. The same goes for all of us, if we eat more calories than we're using up we will gain weight. It's as simple as that. So get out there and make it fun. Try not to use the word "exercise". You want this to be a lifestyle habit not something that has to be done.
6. Be a positive role model. Rather than focusing on changes for your child only, change as a family. Have a family meeting and talk about healthy eating and good nutrition. Explain all the benefits of exercise and let your kids suggest some simple activities you can do together. Start slowly and build up. If you set a good example your kids will eventually follow.
Just remember any change can be difficult at first and you may initially have to put with tears or even temper tantrums, but be persistent. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle will far outweigh any difficulties you may face in getting there. Your kids will thank you for it in the long run....