Childhood obesity is a frightening reality these days. One out of every 3 kids has the potential to be an obese adult. According to researchers, with every 20 percent of body weight increase, a child needs to put in 18 months of weight maintenance to revert to normal weight. The best gift you can give your child is the gift of health. Begin today with these 10 tips.
1. Do Your Homework
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. When you become a parent, find out everything you can about childhood obesity and how to fight it. Understand the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle. Know that what might be a cute chubby child today could just as well grow into an obese adult with an unmanageable life. When you’re dealing with a killer like obesity, information can be king. The more you know, the more ways you can find to help your child beat obesity.
2. Bring In Early Intervention
While childhood is a time to grow, learn about the world and experience different tastes, moderate your child’s intake with healthy choices. Be on the watch and tackle the obesity issue quickly, before it spirals out of control. It’s easier to inculcate healthy eating patterns and exercise in childhood than it is when the child is grown.
3. Get Your Child’s Obesity Level Checked
It’s not easy to measure childhood obesity. Children grow in unpredictable spurts, both in height and weight. If you suspect that your child may have a weight problem, contact your pediatrician immediately. The doctor can validate if your child’s weight corresponds to his or her age and height.
4. Educate Your Child
Explain to your child that you want him or her to be healthy. While buying groceries or while cooking, highlight the positive and negative aspects of food. Explain what fat does, how the body metabolizes food, how much energy the body needs and so on. Perhaps a very small child cannot understand this much, but a child of 8 and above can be made to understand.
5. Be Supportive Of Your Child
Don’t victimize your child or make the child feel responsible for his or her burgeoning weight. Don’t tie the child’s obesity to his or her looks; this will damage your child’s self esteem, which may cause long term implications worse than obesity. Let your child know that you love him or her unconditionally and that you want to make sure they’re healthy forever.
6. Don’t Make Your Obese Child Your Sole Focus
Only your child might have obesity issues while you, your partner and other family members are fine. However, it’s best not to serve regular food to others and special diet food only to your obese child. This singles out your child as the odd one in the family and will make him or her feel inadequate. Instead, change your entire family’s food patterns to the healthy side.
7. Encourage Your Family To Exercise
Get your entire family involved in an exercise family. Go for weekend swims, early morning walks, gym together, play family squash and basketball games. When you make it a fun family event, your child will just follow suit and bloom under all that attention. If your kids are becoming couch potatoes, restrict both TV and computer time.
8. Start Small And Be Patient
If you want results overnight, it’s not going to happen. Work closely with your doctor and slowly change your child’s eating and lifestyle patterns. You need to work out a long-term plan to fight childhood obesity along with your doctor. Identify a few areas for improvement first; this way, both your child and your family will put up lesser resistance to your efforts.
9. Put Away Unhealthy Snacks
Children love snacks and sweets, especially fried food. If your child loves eating this kind of stuff, it might not be easy to wean him or her off it immediately. However, you can freeze unhealthy food at home. Make sure no one buys fried foods in the family and cook only healthy snacks for your kid. Restrict your kid’s allowance and keep an eye on what he or she eats. Allow your child to eat at fast food restaurants, but control portions.
10. Allow Your Child To Assume Responsibility
You want your child to score well in tests. In the same way, you want your child to score well in health as well. Explain this to your child and put up the optimum weight score as the desired grade. Let your child work up to it. Encourage your child every time he or she earns a C grade. Reward your child for B, B+ and A grades. Soon your child will race to win the game against obesity.
Marina is a freelance writer and writes for specialty products like designer clocks, decorative wall mirrors and a lot more.