According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese children has increased three-fold since the 70s. The Agency further adds that about one in every five school going kids between the ages of six and nineteen has obesity.
For starters, obesity is a condition characterized by excess body fat. It is different from being overweight. You’re overweight if your fat, muscle, bone, water and a combination of other factors don’t match your height. Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile is the proffered unit for measuring obesity in young adults aged between 2 and 20. If your child’s BMI is at or above the 95th percentile, then he or she is obese.
If not controlled, obesity can lead to health complications and can even prevent your child from performing simple day to day tasks such as walking or playing.
Below is a checklist of some tips that will help you prevent your kid from becoming obese.
Assist the little One Develop Healthy Eating Habits
This is where it all starts. Encourage your child to eat a healthy and balanced diet. What goes into your baby’s mouth determines they ability to maintain a healthy weight. Some of the ways you can use to keep your kids weight in check include;
- Providing enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products
- Ensure that their food contains low fat, non-fat milk or dairy products
- Let them eat lean meat, fish, lentils, beans and poultry for proteins
- Make sure that you serve reasonably sized portions
- Encourage them to drink lots of water
- Reduce sweetened beverage intakes
- Limit consumption of saturated fat and sugar
Always be on the look for ways to your kid’s favorite dish healthier. A few changes to your regular recipes could go a long way in helping your child stay healthy.
Get Rid of Calorie-Rich Temptations
While your baby should take everything in moderation, lowering calorie-rich temptations of high sugar and high fat as well as salty snacks can go a long way in helping him/her develop healthy eating habits. You can, however, once in a while allow the young one eat them once in a while. Here as low fat and lower sugar treats that are 100 calories or less;
- A medium sized banana
- One cup of grapes
- A medium sized apple
- One cup of broccoli, hummus, bell pepper or broccoli
- One cup of blueberries
Help Your Kid Stay Active
Your child needs to play so as to remain physically fit and reduce the risk of becoming obese. Other health benefits of an active childhood life include;
- Stronger bones
- Lower blood pressure
- Less stress and anxiety levels
- Higher self-esteem
- Proper weight management
Your kid should take part in at least one hour of moderate to intense physical activities almost every other day of the week. Some of these exercises include;
- Rope jumping
- Brisk walks
- Playing tag
Reduce Sedentary Time
Apart from encouraging your kid to stay active, it also helps if you reduce too much idle time. There is no problem in letting your child take some time out to read. Also, make sure you trim the time spent on activities such as video games, television or browsing the web to not more than two hours every day.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatricians is against children under the age of two watching television. Consider coming up with other ways that children can spend their free time with family members.
Lead from the Front
By nature, children tend to take the cue from adults. You should, therefore, set a good example if you want to help the young one avoid obesity. You cannot, for instance, encourage him or her to eat a healthy meal while you’re eating unhealthy foods such as junk food.
Also, you may consider joining him/her during play so that the child can feel part and parcel of the entire campaign. You should not push your kid to do more than their body can handle. Also, be sure to respect their appetite.
When you teach your child to make a smart decision regarding their health at an early age, they will indeed stick to it in the future. And, it’s not that hard to do it. The only thing that you need to ensure is that you regularly retaliate to your kid on the importance of staying healthy.