Publish 13 December 2023
Healthy Lifestyle Begins Early
Giving your children the resources they need to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle is a vital step toward preparing them for a happy and productive adulthood. Parents, in light of the alarming rise in childhood obesity, should instill in their children early on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. About one in five American children in their school years is overweight.
Childhood obesity is a leading cause of diseases long thought to affect only adults, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. On top of that, research shows that childhood obesity is also connected to low self-esteem and an increased risk of depression. Considering how important this is, here are the best ways to help children maintain a healthy weight.
Simple Ways to Help Your Children Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
According to the WHO, the distinction between overweight and obese is body mass index (which varies in adults and children). Fat accumulation that is extreme and abnormal can impair your child's health. In other words, it is the extra fat produced from an imbalance between consumed and spent calories.
If you want to help children maintain a healthy body weight, the key is to strike a balance between the calories they take in from food and drink and the calories they expend through play and growth.
Keep in mind that the goal for kids and teens who are already overweight or obese is to slow their rate of weight increase without compromising their ability to grow and develop normally. You must help them keep the weight off by developing healthy habits. But how can you do this? Here are seven simple tips to help you.
1. Develop healthy eating habits together
To help your kids maintain healthy body fat, the first thing to focus on is helping them create a healthy relationship with food. It’s crucial for your kids to learn to make healthy food choices. The “5-2-1-0” formula advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics is an excellent way to start. It means five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Less than 2 hours of screen time, 1 hour of physical exercise, and 0 sugar-sweetened drinks.
Therefore, always ensure enough fresh produce, fruits, and whole grains. Toss in some cheese and yogurt made with low- or no-fat milk. Protein should come from lean sources such as meat, chicken, fish, lentils, and beans. Also, teach your kids the importance of drinking enough water and staying hydrated.
By making a conscious effort to make little improvements every day, you'll slowly help your entire family instill healthier eating habits that will improve their overall health and help maintain healthy body weight. This is especially important if obesity or food addiction runs in your family. In that case, it’s essential to focus on learning to prevent your child from inheriting your addiction and learn to break the cycle.
2. Teach your kids about hunger and fullness cues
Even as an adult, it can be challenging to resist the temptation of nearby snacks, especially when we're bored or upset. That’s why knowing when to stop eating is one of the most important life skills to master. More importantly, you should do your best to teach your children this valuable skill, too.
Another good idea is to use a plate that is more appropriate for a child’s size. This way, you'll ensure that your kid gets the proper amount of food at each meal. Fruits and vegetables should make up half of the plate. Lean protein (fish, poultry, legumes) and whole grains (oats, wheat bread, brown rice) should make up the other half.
3. Replace calorie-rich temptations with healthy snacks
If you want your kids to eat foods with higher nutritional value, you should limit their access to snacks that are heavy in sugar, salt, and fat. However, this doesn’t mean you should never give them candy or sugar. If you limit their availability and only give them to your kids sometimes, they'll feel like true treats. The best part is that there are plenty of healthy options nowadays.
4. Encourage regular physical activity
Regular physical activity will help your kids stay healthy and control their weight. Increased physical activity has plenty more benefits, such as bone strength, lower blood pressure, and less stress and anxiety in children and adolescents. Plus, your kids will feel proud and more confident. Experts recommend at least an hour of physical exercise per day.
Brief periods of activity, even 15 minutes long, spread out throughout the day can add to significant gains. Exercising is as simple as going for a bike ride around the block or as involved as competing in a game of tag in the backyard. It may even be following along to a dance video.
Keep in mind that kids will copy what they see their parents do. You should model healthy behavior by increasing your level of physical exercise. It could be as simple as doing low-intensity workouts at home and asking your youngster to join you.
5. Do it as a family
One of the best ways to help your kids lead a healthier lifestyle. Especially if some need to lose weight, it is to switch their habits. By setting an example and altering your routine as a family, you'll help your kids gain the necessary confidence and support to go through this transition easier. Because they will see you making positive choices about health and fitness, your children will feel inspired to do the same.
You Can Prevent Childhood Obesity
We won’t lie. It might be challenging to help children maintain a healthy body weight. After all, no child would rather have carrot sticks than candy. However, we strongly urge you not to give up, and to do your best to follow expert health advice. Not only will you help your children maintain good body weight, but you will also improve their overall health and well-being.
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