How to Prevent Child Obesity

The causes of child obesity are preventable. Obesity is classified as having more body fat than you should for your height. It leads to conditions such as type II diabetes, heart problems and asthma. Your children depend on you for the nutrition they need to be healthy. If you have kids, then you know it can be tough getting them to eat healthy foods or go outside to play. Some health conditions, such as hormone problems, contribute to obesity in children. However, the biggest cause is eating too much food and not exercising properly. Encourage your kids to be active during the day, especially at home. Here are some ways to prevent child obesity.

Make Changes

Children tend to head straight for the television, computer or video games after school. These things are fast becoming normal for kids today. Instead of taking them away from your children, make changes on how much time is allowed with these types of activities. Children shouldn’t spend more than two hours a day surfing the web, playing video games and watching television.

Also consider purchasing interactive video games as a compromise to giving up regular games. There are numerous games and systems in stores that have exercise and sports related activities that you control with your movements. The games are also fun, entertaining and physically active.

Spend Family Time Outside

Plan time together outdoors with sport-related activities. Basketball, flag football, soccer and even tag are great ways to introduce your kids to exercise. Your children may feel better about leaving their favorite things behind if you participate in some type of outdoor activity together. This also benefits you as well.

Serve Healthier Snacks

Snacking is a big influence on child obesity. Like most kids, your children may love sugary candies, sodas and chips. Introduce fruits, vegetables, 100 percent fruit juice and yogurts at snack time. It’s not easy changing food choices with your older kids, but toddlers are more likely to accept the change. Good eating habits are easier to establish at an early age.

With your older kids, introduce snacks by providing only healthy alternatives instead of high-calorie and fattening choices. Put out bananas, apples and oranges instead of cookies. Provide low fat and low sodium pretzels rather than chips. Stock up on different yogurt flavors and cottage cheese blends in place of ice cream and frozen desserts.

Make Healthier Dinners

Dinner is a good time for you and your family to eat better foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends introducing your kids to whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats and healthy vegetables for meals. You should serve portions reasonable for your child’s age. Also encourage water rather than sugary beverages. Offer fruit cups for dessert instead of cake or pie.

Obesity affects 1 out of 5 kids in America. It’s a problem that you may face one day. Consider all the options you have available and work out a plan that benefits your children’s health. Make sure you’re consistent with your plan as well. Begin by setting an example to your kids. Eat right, get plenty of exercise and have fun.

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