Childhood obesity is a serious condition in children that has been on the rise lately. Obesity is a chronic disease that affects both children and adults. It is linked to several other chronic diseases and conditions such as type-2 diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis etc. The rate of obesity among children has been observed to have doubled over the years. This is due to many factors including diet change and decreased exercise.
It is important to prevent childhood obesity due to the likelihood of its persistence into adulthood and the difficulty of treating it as the child continues to grow.
How to prevent childhood obesity
The genetic makeup and the lifestyle of a child are the significant contributors to their weight. The following steps can help to prevent childhood obesity:
In both schools and at home, physical activity for children should be highly encouraged. Children should be given the opportunity to engage in sporting activities such as swimming, playing football, dancing etc. This can also help to ensure the ease of continuity of such activities even in adulthood.
Diet and nutrition for childhood obesity prevention
Many people tend to focus less on the sugar intake of children or sometimes do as much as encourage very high consumption of sugar in them, as they are seen as only kids that should be allowed to eat anything. This should not be so as a healthy diet is equally as important in children to prevent early onset of obesity and obesity-related diseases. A child’s diet should be rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit and nuts can be used to replace sweets and candy. Children can also be encouraged to take water rather than soft drinks or carbonated juices.
Modeling a healthy lifestyle for children
Parents and guardians should strive to model a healthy lifestyle to children as they are more likely to imitate the lifestyle practices of their parents. People who consume a high sugar, high fat diet are more likely to feed their children with what they eat. This unfortunately could be a predisposing factor in childhood obesity. By eating healthy and engaging in regular physical activities, good examples are being set which the children are most likely to pick up.
Eating excess amounts of food is linked to obesity hence children should be made to eat adequate portions of food. This is not saying that children should be starved or deprived of food but also children shouldn’t be served or made to consume excess amounts of food as it could predispose them to obesity.
Getting rid of temptations
Stocking the refrigerator with food items that are not healthy such as junk food, snacks high in salt or sugar would only make the children more likely to consume such food. Parents that want to encourage a healthy eating lifestyle in their children should make available all around the house healthy food items. These could include stocking the refrigerator with vegetables, eggs, chicken, fruit and other healthy substitutes.
A word from Healthfacts
In the journey towards preventing obesity in children, parents should not go overboard and place their children on restrictive diets that prevent them from getting the required minerals, vitamins and essential components needed to facilitate proper growth. Rather, focus should be placed on developing healthy lifestyles and eating habits.