Since obesity in kids has become a major issue in today’s world, here are a few very efficient ways to prevent childhood obesity. In order to help your little one maintain a healthy weigh, you should teach them a few things on this matter, so they can live a balanced and happy life. A study conducted by the University of Illinois and the Child Development Laboratory has identified three main factors that can lead to childhood obesity: the parents are themselves obese or they have a high BMI (body mass index); poor or irregular sleep patterns; and putting the children on a diet, which will only increase their cravings when they escape their family circle. Here are a few extremely efficient ways to prevent childhood obesity that you should consider:
1. Set a Good Example
One of the most helpful ways to prevent childhood obesity is by setting a good example to your kids. Just try to make healthy lifestyle choices, because studies show that if the parents lead a sedentary lifestyle, this pattern will most likely be passed to their children. Be your kids’ role model and adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle!
2. Don’t Use Food as a Reward
Don’t ever use food as a reward for something good your children did! You shouldn’t use it as punishment either, since food should not be linked to behavior at all. Also, try to avoid using it as a substitute for affectionate support when your kids are upset, sad or discouraged, because this will only cause bad or irregular eating habits that in time may lead to obesity.
3. Be Creative when Preparing Healthy Meals
Healthy food can be tasty, nutritious and very appealing if you just allow yourself to be creative when you’re preparing such meals. You do know that children can be rather picky when it comes to eating their vegetables, so try to make eating fun by being more creative when it comes to preparing healthy meals.
4. Make Sure Your Child Gets Enough Rest
A lot of studies have shown that poor or irregular sleep patterns can lead to obesity, so make sure your child gets enough rest. School-aged children need approximately 10 hours of sleep every night, adolescents need about 9 hours of sleep per night but younger kids need around 12 hours of sleep every day.
5. Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active
Encourage your little one to play sports or to get at least one hour of physical activity every day. Encourage them to play outside and ride their bike; you can even go hiking together, or you could ask them to help you do chores around the house. They can even take dance classes or karate lessons, or they can join a sports team.
6. Encourage Your Kid to Drink Lots of Water
Encourage your kid to drink lots of water every day, but try not to be too pushy about it. If they get used to drinking water and milk from an early age, they will later on be less addicted to soda or other sugar filled drinks with a ton of calories, like milkshakes for example.
7. Limit Your Child's Screen Time
Try to limit your child's scree time, and here I’m talking about the time they spend in front of the TV, playing video games or simply surfing the web. It’s generally recommended that your child should spend less than two hours every day on these activities and that children under two years old should not even watch TV.
Help your child develop healthy eating habits from an early age, since a balanced diet is essential to help children grow and develop properly. Do you know any other efficient ways to prevent childhood obesity? Please tell us about them in the comments section!