In the US since 1980, obesity rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents. That is a lot of kids at risk for a lifetime of being overweight and the chronic diseases that go with it.
A good place to start addressing the problem of overweight kids is with nutrition. Eating is something we do from the moment we enter the world. Our eating habits and attitudes about exercise are holdovers from our childhoods. Preventing obesity, therefore, starts at home. If you are a parent, here are a few tips for instilling good eating and exercise habits in your kids.
When your child says he's full, believe him. Kids don't need a lifetime membership in the "clean plate club."
Keep trying with those new foods. All kids should be in the "no thank-you bite club" when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
Cut nutritious foods into interesting shapes or bite-sized pieces.
Most kids love to dip. Try a low-fat dipping sauce or yogurt.
Don't reward with sugary snacks. How about a bike ride, a trip to the park, or playing a game?
Stick to low-fat milk and water rather than sugary drinks and juice. Low-fat milk is not recommended for children under two years of age (American Academy of Pediatrics).
Be a role model. Enjoy healthy foods with your kids. Limit your own consumption of fat, sugar, and salt.
Play, play, play. Introduce your kids to your inner child. How about a living room dance contest, a jump rope competition, or a game of tag? Playing with your child doesn't just burn calories. It teaches valuable life skills, increases self esteem, and strengthens bonds between family members.
For more information on exercise for children and adults, check out the links, below.