What Does It Mean?
When people talk about being overweight or obese, they mean that someone has more body fat than is healthy. Everyone has some body fat, but excess fat can affect someone’s health and ability to walk, run, and get around, as well as how the person looks and his or her self-esteem. This trend begins in the early stages of childhood, and could turn into further more complicated problems.
Protect your kids from a growing epidemic.
As a parent, you can’t help but be concerned about the health of your child. An increasing health concern for families today is childhood obesity.
What has caused this rise in childhood obesity? How does obesity affect a child’s health and well-being, today and in the future? What is some practical advice for parents when it comes to preventing and overcoming childhood obesity?
Children gain weight just like adults do: usually from a caloric imbalance. This means that too few calories are burned compared to the number of calories consumed. A lack of exercise combined with unhealthy eating habits is a recipe for weight gain. Obesity is also affected by environmental, behavioural, or genetic factors.
How can we help?
The best strategy for preventing childhood obesity starts with a healthy diet. This is not as simple as it sounds, high-calorie foods such as fast food and confectionary are abundant, relatively cheap, and heavily promoted specifically at children and young people.
What you build today will last them a lifetime. Healthy habits are not about eating a certain food or eliminating another. It’s really a way of life. A lifestyle.
So, have plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains readily available. Buy only low-fat or non-fat milk. Serve lean meats, fish, beans, or poultry, and consider portion size, reduce the size of the plate reduces the portion size! Additionally, kids should drink plenty of water instead of diet / sugary fizzy drinks.
Most important, ensuring your child maintains a healthy weight is encouraging regular physical activity. Not only is exercise fun for kids, but also it is good for their health. Children should be getting at least one hour of moderate physical activity every day. However, there is a correlation between TV and obesity in children and adolescents; I would encourage the whole family to become active rather than TV watchers, or computer addicts! By spending less time in front of a screen, kids will look for other things to do, and that often leads to physical activity.
Set an Example
Beware: they are watching! Kids imitate adults. Parents should teach and model a healthy lifestyle. Remember, exercise and eating habits are started early in life. The sooner you start your efforts to prevent childhood obesity, the better.
Pythagoras said: “The beginning is half the whole”. Once you make the first step everything else becomes easier; but it is important to make that step otherwise you cannot expect to finish something you did not start.