The rise in child obesity due to overeating has been taking the United States by storm over the past few years. In fact, statistics show that one in every five children is obese, and the numbers keep climbing. These numbers are a huge concern for many parents because excessive weight gain – particularly due to overeating – can lead to future diseases in kids including diabetes, heart disease, and even cases of high cholesterol.
An unhealthy diet coupled with a lack in exercise of physical activity can easily pack on the pounds, causing kids to have low self-esteem issues, critical self-image reactions, and emotional stress. If portion control is part of the problem, please keep the above infographic handy for quick and easy reference.
Another common problem with kids that are obese is obesity that is genetic or runs in the family. Usually this happens when kids adapt to the behaviors of their fellow family members. If people in the household are choosing to eat certain foods, have poor eating habits, and aren’t encouraging any type of physical activity, then weight gain can become an issue.
The good news is, there are ways to help your kids become more active instead of letting them play video games all day or sit in front of the TV, which is when they are most likely to engage in overeating. The more active they are, whether it be in sports or simply playing outdoors, the more their lifestyle will change overall.
So how can you help your kids make better decision in regards to their eating habits and physical activity? Well, there are a number of things you can do as a parent.
First, you can be their backbone and support system to stop overeating.
This will allow them to open up to you about their feelings and concerns. They could be experiencing different emotions that are hard to express and letting them know that you are in their corner no matter what, can open up the lines of communication.
Second, you can hone in on changing the unhealthy physical activity patterns of the entire family.
This is so your kids don’t feel as if they are all alone in this lifestyle change. Children are led by example and showing them that you can do it and you are willing to do it for them, is a surefire way to get them motivated to do it also.
Lastly, you can make food changes that will benefit everybody in the household.
For instance, eating less fast food is a good start. It’s easy to grab a burger when you’re out and about and hungry. Instead, prepare healthy snacks to take with you if the kids get hungry. Fruits such as apples, grapes, or bananas are great for when you’re on the go.
Limit the high calorie snacks and soft drinks also. Getting kids to love water can be challenging but it’s worth it. You might need to add a little flavor to their water at first, but eventually they should be able to get used to drinking it without anything added.
You’ve heard the saying before “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and so it is. Making sure your kids eat breakfast every morning is essential for them to get nutrients such as carbs, protein, fiber, and calcium. If you have school age kids, they will most likely have better results with grades, concentration, and overall performance.
Positive change starts with you. As a parent, making plans for better meals and physical activity with your kids can be game changer in the choices they make. Making changes can be stressful for kids so the most important thing to remember is their need for you to support them and help them every step of the way.