Last week I wrote about the idea of faith-based communities taking a more active role in the fight against childhood obesity. We all know the statistics are rising and the health impacts are endless and relentless on the medical community.
Instead of focusing on the negative statistics and damaging health implications, I would like to focus on ways families can combat childhood obesity and steps parents can take to help their children if they are overweight.
1. Encourage your child to make healthy food choices by modeling a balanced diet yourself. Children mimic and model what you do. Also, you buy the food that comes into the house so choose wisely.
2. Don’t ignore your child’s weight problem. Not addressing the problem won’t make it go away. Research shows that children who are overweight most likely will become overweight or obese adults.
3. Limit the amount of time your child is allowed to view “screens,” meaning TV, videogames, cell phones handheld devices, and iPads.
4. Consider sending your child to a weight loss camp that is focused on lifestyle changes and rather than just losing weight.
5. Plan family meals together and avoid fast food restaurants.
6. Get help from your family physician or a nutritionist. This is a very sensitive subject for children and you don’t want to have your child feel ostracized or unloved because of their weight issue.
7. Explore creative ways to exercise more and consume fewer calories. Choosemyplate.gov has some great tips for parents and caregivers on how to exercise, eat a balanced diet and manage your weight.
8. Seek out support groups and learn from other parents.
Every parent wants their child to grow up healthy and happy. Helping your child develop healthy eating habits and a love for movement and activity is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It starts with you, being a good supportive role model. If your child does develop a weight problem, be proactive in helping them achieve a natural and healthy weight goal. Utilize the resources in your community, work with an expert, and be the hero your child needs to get them through this tough situation.
Here is a link to some kid wisdom. I hope you enjoy the humor, but appreciate the reality of this YouTube video by Kaiser.