There is one thing going on in the world that is heart breaking, childhood obesity. It is becoming something so common, that children who aren’t overweight are deemed too thin and unhealthy when the overweight children are becoming the “average”. As a parent, I feel obligated to ensure that childhood obesity doesn’t take over my children’s lives and I know I am the root of their futures. Childhood obesity is thankfully something that is preventable, it just takes parents willing to put the effort into their child’s health and well being.
Since childhood obesity is becoming a huge epidemic, we thought it was necessary to give our readers tips on how to prevent childhood obesity. It is something that can easily be done, and I know this for a fact. MommyMatter has put together some realistic and practical ways for you, the parents, to take control of your child’s health and make childhood obesity a thing of the past, without destroying the fun of being a kid.
Set an Example!
This one is not only logical but true. When a child is confronted with parents who do not eat right, they won’t either. If a child is also around parents that do not exercise or the moment they are home it is TV time, your child will do the same. You, the parent, needs to set a good example for your child. Get up, exercise. You’d be amazed how easy it actually is to do something active and good for you. Some things you could do include:
- Go for a walk (simple and effective)
- Play basketball with your child (bonding time and exercise time, awesome!)
- Yard work (ya, you know it needs done, and it is good for you)
- Shovel snow (and make it fun with your kid, snowball fight anyone?)
- Play tag with your kids (you’d be amazed how happy this would make them)
Children are always so excited when their parents act like a kid. When you make life more active and fun for them, you are not only improving your relationship with your child, but you are improving the health of your entire family. Setting an example is important, and you are opening the doors to a brighter future for your children, who will probably do the same things with their children.
Most communities now a days have a lot of activities for children to get involved in. Whether it is groups that are dedicated to running around and wearing off some steam, or a more relaxed group, it gets your child doing something. When a child is stuck at home doing nothing, they are more likely to flake out on the couch, watch television or play video games then they are to do something active. Technology has destroyed the imagination of today’s children, so get it going again and get your children involved in activities outside of the home.
Sure, you might have a very busy life and have a hectic schedule. We all do. Your children however, do not. They have school and come home. Make time for their needs. If this means you have to skip out of work 5 minutes earlier to get your child to gymnastics, you do it. Their futures depend on you, and their activeness is up to you.
Make Them Earn the Non-Active Things
Remember, you are the parent. You are the one in control of your child. You are the one that makes the decisions. If you have a child that loves video games, television or computer time, make them earn it. Make rules and stick to it. In our home, the rules are if the sun is out, no video games. Simple and effective. There is no need for a child to be glued to technology when it is sunny and nice. Save the lounge days for the raining/excessively cold days.
We all remember when we were kids, if it wasn’t raining, we were outside. A lot of the time, even if it was raining we were outside. Now a days, that isn’t the case. It is less likely to see a slew of kids outside playing like when we were kids. The only way a child is going to learn that their lives can’t be glued to technology all the time is if you take control of it. Limit the time they spend doing nothing, and set boundaries. If they successfully do everything you request, whether it is chores, school work or running 20 laps out in the backyard, give them the reward. If you don’t stick to your rewards, they are going to rebel on you. If you say, clean your room and you can have 10 minutes of computer time, and they follow through, so should you.
Meal Time Needs Attention
Meals are not what they used to be. Everything has become very much on the demand, less fresh and more frozen. The freezer section used to be smaller then the produce section, but now the produce section is overwhelmed by the frozen. Parents of the 21st century are a lot busier. In most homes, both parents work. Work hours are longer and the time spent in the kitchen is minimal. Millions of families rely on the drive thru windows and ordering in, which is reaping havoc on our health.
It is okay to occasionally order in or hop through the drive thru, but when it becomes something you do at least 3-4 times a week, it is an issue. It is however quite easy to avoid the drive thru’s by making a plan. Planning out meals and cooking ahead could in reality have you and your family eating healthier meals that are even more delicious.
Alongside meals, parents also need to focus on the snacks that their children are consuming. If your child is constantly snacking out on chips and pop, their weight is guaranteed going to increase. Instead of going for the simple and very unhealthy items, cut up some fruit and cheese. If you don’t introduce the junk to your children, they won’t fuss when they receive the healthy. Keeping healthy snacks on hand at all times will not only benefit your child’s eating habits, but your own as well. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables available all the time, and it is bond to become a requested item in your home.
There are endless ways to help minimize childhood obesity. Families can take control of their lives and their health by making a few simple changes to their day to day lives. Make the change in your home to help prevent childhood obesity, and you’ll be making a change in your child’s future.