It’s a common misconception that growing kids can eat anything and everything they want, and will still stay healthy because they’re naturally active. Genetic factors are a consideration, but many children are imitating bad habits they see in their parents. This includes a poor diet, with a reliance on fast foods or processed foods, and not exercising. Until a few years back, parents found it hard to believe that children need a diet and fitness plan. They thought it was something only the grown-ups needed―grown-ups that weren’t in shape. After all the awareness child obesity statistics created, parents have now understood the importance of a healthy lifestyle for their kids.
The average child today spends around 24 hours a week watching television. The increased popularity of computer and video games means kids may spend even less time engaging in physical activities. Just like overweight adults, overweight children are at a greater risk of illness and disease.
What You Can Do
☛ Don’t criticize or blame your child of being overweight. Talk with him about your concerns regarding his weight and health. Teach him to accept and feel good about himself.
☛ Do a reality check and see if your lifestyle needs any changes. Be a role model by paying attention to your own diet, fitness regime, and lifestyle; not being obsessed with it at the same time. Show him that you are confident about your body.
☛ Get moving and make exercise a family affair. There are plenty of activities that you can enjoy together. Plan family outings that include physical activities, such as biking, trekking, or swimming.
☛ Practice healthy eating. Families today are busier than ever, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on nutrition. Many cookbooks feature fast, healthy recipes. Provide nutritious snacks and teach your child to make healthy food choices on his own.
☛ Just a few habit changes in your family can make a big difference. Discourage him from eating in front of the TV or the computer. More often than not, kids get so lost in front of their T.V. sets (like we all do, from time to time), that they tend to eat in excess. Eat together as a family as much as possible, encourage him to eat slowly, and learn to enjoy good food. Invite your child to participate in food choice and preparation.
☛ For more information on healthy eating and exercise, talk to a registered dietician or a professional trainer, particularly one who has experience of dealing with children. If you feel that your child’s weight might cause serious health problems, consult a physician/pediatrician immediately.
It’s never too early to start a healthy diet and fitness regime for your child, and never too late for you to make the switch to a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy and eat right!