Take Steps To Prevent Childhood Obesity
By Becky Fox
Obesity is a major problem in the U.S. today and youth are no exception to the epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 16 percent of children and teens are obese. With increased obesity comes increased risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, sleep apnea, and diabetes.
Also, these children are at an increased risk of psychosocial factors such as social discrimination, lowered self-esteem, and they are likely to continue being obese into adulthood. So it is clear that action needs to be taken to prevent or reverse obesity among children and teens. Parents, here are a few easy suggestions to keep your family healthy and fit:
Participate in activities together as a family. Being active or exercising as a family benefits everyone involved. So get out there and go for a bike ride, go skating, or go on a family hike. Find activities that everyone enjoys so it's not only healthy, but also fun.
Log family activity. Creating an activity chart and tracking each person's activity can create a dose of healthy competition, motivation, and accountability. Place the log somewhere everyone can see and can be reminded of their progress.
Cook healthy meals with your children. Finding healthy recipes to prepare with your child can be a great way to bond and explain the benefits of healthy eating and the importance of proper nutrition.
Replace tempting foods with healthy foods. Rather than having potato chips and cookies readily available for your children to eat, stock up on easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, or carrot sticks. Encourage your children to drink water or milk, instead of sugary juices and sodas. Simply starting with a few small changes such as these can be beneficial to your child's waistline.
Talk to your kids about what it means to be healthy. Let your children know the benefits of being active and why they should eat healthy and live healthy. Knowledge is a key step in making healthy choices throughout a lifetime.
Set an example. You can't expect your kids to exercise, eat healthy, and make wise lifestyle choices if you aren't doing so yourself.
Becky Fox is owner of Fox Fitness, a Knoxville-based in-home and outdoors personal fitness company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.