In the past 30 years, the number of obese adolescents (ages 12-19) has quadrupled, while the number of obese children (ages 6-11) has more than doubled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What can a concerned parent do to combat this ever-growing epidemic? How can you help your kid avoid childhood obesity?
1.Encourage physical activity: Whether it’s playing in a pee-wee sports league, going on nightly bike rides with the rest of the family, or participating in daily games of tag or hide-and-seek with other kids in the neighborhood; try to encourage your child to view physical activity as a fun endeavor, not something to be dreaded. Too many adults approach exercise as a chore and are thus not motivated to work out on a consistent basis. Showing your kid the enjoyable aspects of physical activity will help them look forward to exercise, and make them much more likely to maintain this healthy habit as they get older. And it’s not too late for you, either; learn how to make fitness fun again.
2.Endorse healthy eating: Calories in; calories out—that’s the core formula that governs weight loss and gain. Making sure your child has access to nutritious food will help him or her avoid childhood obesity and develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. When coming up with ideas for weekday dinners, go heavy on the fruits and vegetables, incorporate moderate amounts of lean proteins (fish, chicken, lentils, and beans) and whole grains (brown rice, barley, oatmeal, buckwheat), and go light on food items with added sugar or a lot of saturated fat. Need some additional wholesome food ideas? Check out these 3 Heart-Healthy Foods Recommended by Fitness Together Ellicott City.
3.Eliminate unnecessary temptations: Reduce your child’s access to unhealthy food and sedentary activity options. Even small shifts in eating and exercise patterns can result in major physical and mental changes in your young one. Cut down daily screen time to no more than two hours (excluding time spent doing homework). Instead of an afternoon snack of chips and dip, serve up a plate of carrot sticks and hummus. Searching for something sweet for after dinner? Offer frozen grapes as an alternative to chocolate chips.
Helping a young person avoid childhood obesity is a true family affair. The more positive health role models a child has to look up to, the more likely he or she will be able to adopt life-altering exercise and eating habits.
Searching for a way to help your family kick-start a new healthy lifestyle plan in Howard County? Fitness Together Ellicott City offers a variety of customized personal training and nutrition programs that can help you meet your goals. Call us today at (410) 750-2228.