Childhood obesity is a major problem around the globe, particularly in developed countries. This condition can translate into numerous medical problems both in the short-term and the long-term. Typically, obese and overweight children are more likely to have high blood pressure and even high cholesterol. This predisposes them to heart and circulatory diseases. They are also likely to develop diabetes, GERD, breathing problems and musculoskeletal disorders. Also, obese children face significant social and psychological issues such as discrimination and low self-esteem.
Prevent Obesity in Children
Fortunately, childhood obesity can be managed and prevented. In general, obesity develops when the energy intake in a child is much higher than the total expenditure. Therefore, if the food intake is lowered and exercise increased, the weight problems can be controlled. In simple terms, diet and exercise are the most crucial elements for dealing with obesity.
Simple Rules to Follow:
Here are some simple but practical methods that parents, teachers, and other caregivers can utilize to reduce the childhood obesity rate:
Control Access to Sugars and Fats
Consumption of foods which are high in calories contributes to the development of obesity in children. Simply speaking, if a child takes a snack with a high-calorie value, they will not be able to get rid of the extra energy through exercise because the total amount of calories is too high. Therefore, parents and teachers should limit the children’s access to junk food. Junk food refers to edible products which are high in calories but have minimal nutritional value. You should be particularly cautious of food items which are high in fats and sugars. These substances are stored in the body and contribute to weight problems and other medical issues.
Promote Better Eating Habits
Children should have access to healthy foods for proper development. School lunches can be instrumental in making sure that healthy meals are available for all children. Ideally, kids should be provided foods that have high nutritional value and low calories. Vegetables and fruits should always be available as part of main meals and snacks. Dairy products are also healthy, but focus choices on low-fat alternatives. Carbohydrates should be whole grains and proteins should comprise primarily of fish, poultry, lean meat and plant proteins. Additionally, school lunches should control portions that children eat.
Make Healthy Meals More Attractive
One of the main challenges posed by healthy diets for children is the lack of appeal. “Ugly lunches” can make the battle against obesity tough because food is the core factor in dealing with weight. Therefore, parents and school lunch providers should experiment with different healthy recipes to make meals more attractive. For the best results, ask the children for their opinions so that you can develop meals that they will eat and enjoy. You should also consider modifying some of their favorite unhealthy meals. For example, make pizza with healthy vegetables. You can also change your cooking methods: for example, fried foods can be baked or grilled.
Help Your Children Stay Active
Children should be involved in physical activity of moderate intensity for at least one hour per day. This will allow them to increase the energy expenditure in the body and promote weight loss and stability. If your children are not willing to attempt traditional exercises like running or cycling, they can have fun with activities such as dancing, swimming and playing sports. Physical education in schools is an excellent way to get kids to move around.
Explain the Benefits of Exercise
Parents and teachers should also educate children on the potential benefits of remaining physically active. Knowing the benefits of exercise can help kids be more personally motivated to keep up an exercise routine. For example, they should be aware of the impact of exercise on weight management, the health benefits and even the increased self-esteem that comes with being healthy.
A great way for both teachers and parents to stay informed is to research on the internet. There is a world of blogs and websites that give helpful advise on keeping kids healthy. Kelly Smith has a blog that has a number of excellent nutritional and exercise tips. I am sure you will find it very informational.