Childhood obesity is a serious issue across the US and the numbers of overweight children have been on a steady rise for decades.
Excess weight at a young age carries risks of developing multiple conditions, like diabetes, elevated blood pressure, breathing difficulties, high cholesterol, joint issues, and more. It may also create social and psychological problems, such as body image issues, low self-esteem, and difficulty fitting in.
Parents can do a lot to reduce these risks and help children maintain a healthy weight. If you’ve noticed your little one has put on a few extra pounds, you may wish to introduce some lifestyle changes and encourage positive habits.
Maintaining weight within the normal range comes down to a combination of balanced nutrition, physical activity, and plentiful sleep. While it may be difficult to break certain habits once they’ve already formed, it is doable. Here are some tactics you can try to encourage these beneficial habits.
Children need nutritious meals to grow and develop both physically and mentally. Your little ones need plenty of fruit and vegetables for the fiber and vitamins they contain. They also need a source of protein, like lean meat, fish, and beans. Their diet also has to include some healthy fats, which can be found in dairy products. As for carbohydrates, the intake of refined sugar should be limited. Instead. Instead of candy or pastries, children can eat fruit and whole grains.
In general, replace processed foods with whole foods as much as possible. Make these lifestyle changes more palatable by preparing tasty, mouth-watering dishes with healthy ingredients. There are many easy, delicious, AND balanced recipes that your kids will love. This way, they won’t miss fried, sodium and sugar-rich snacks as much.
However, you should still allow them to have little treats from time to time. The balance will help them maintain a healthy mindset when it comes to food. Eating healthy should never feel like a punishment if you expect them to keep it up in their adult lives.
Another thing to remember is to drink enough water. Staying hydrated protects your children’s bones and teeth, improves blood circulation, and enhances focus and memory. Keep a water bottle at hand at all times, so your little ones can reach for it whenever they feel thirsty.
Physical activity has a very positive impact on children’s well-being. Apart from being entertaining, it’s also great for their bones, muscles, heart, brain, and more.
Limit screen time and introduce your kids to the joys of moving around. It can be as simple as going for a walk in your neighborhood. Another possibility is to take them to a playground, such as a fun and exciting trampoline park. You could also sign them up for sports.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something they’d like to do. If they aren’t interested in physical activity at all, try to expose them to many different ones to see what works. If you aren’t active yourself, try to change this. Children learn by mimicking you, so setting a good example is very important.
While you may now have guessed it, not sleeping enough actually has a lot to do with obesity. Children tend to be sluggish and move around less if they haven’t had enough sleep. They’re also more likely to eat more. They also need more sleep than adults, so make sure they don’t stay up too late. Restrict their screen time before going to bed because this could keep them up at night.