Childhood obesity is an increasing concern worldwide. 

According to the World Obesity Federation projections, the number of obese children and adolescents aged 5-19 will rise from 158 million in 2020 to 254 million by 2030

As obese kids are far more likely to become obese adults, they are at greater risk of developing many health problems related to obesity, such as sleep apnea, heart disease, arthritis, chronic pain, depression, and the modern-age pandemic – diabetes.

If you have any concerns that your cute little toddler is a bit on the chubby side, read on to discover the top  5 healthy tips to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal development and growth.

  • Encourage healthy eating habits: Encourage children to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid giving children sugary drinks and snacks, and try to limit the amount of fast food and processed foods they consume.

  • Promote physical activity: Encourage children to be physically active every day. This can include activities like walking, running, biking, playing sports, or dancing.

  • Limit screen time: Spending too much time in front of screens, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. Set limits on screen time and encourage children to engage in other activities instead.

  • Get enough sleep: Children who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. Encourage children to get the recommended amount of sleep for their age.

  • Be a role model: Children often model their behaviors after those of their parents and caregivers. Leading by example and adopting healthy habits yourself can help children adopt healthy habits as well.

  • Encourage a positive body image: Help children develop a healthy self-image and self-esteem by focusing on their strengths and abilities, rather than their appearance.

  • Seek support: If you are concerned about your child’s weight or are having difficulty implementing healthy habits, seek support from a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.

1. Help Your Child Stay Active

Physical activity is at the core of a healthy lifestyle. 

As the habit starts to form in early childhood, the kids who don’t exercise are vulnerable to gaining weight and at risk of turning into adults who will lead a sedentary lifestyle.

To balance out their calorie consumption, children need at least an hour of exercise every day. They need a lot of aerobic activity to make their hearts beat faster. Jumping and running will help them build healthy bones, while push-ups and climbing will strengthen their muscles.

But the effects of physical activity don’t end with your child’s weight management. 

Exercise can decrease blood pressure, as well as improve your kid’s mental health and self-esteem.

Creating an environment that supports physical activity in the local community is one way to address childhood obesity. Obstacle courses can do wonders for promoting physical activity among schoolchildren, making it look fun and desirable while combining fitness with developing leadership and fundraising.

2. Balanced Nutrition

Another essential way to prevent your child from developing obesity is by forming healthy eating habits by providing balanced nutrition from the early days. This means that your kid’s diet (as well as yours) should include:

  • A lot of vegetables, whole-grain products, and fruits.
  • Low or non-fat milk and dairy products, including yogurt and cheese.
  • Lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and lentils as sources of protein.
  • Consuming lots of water as a primary source of hydration.

The intake of saturated fat and sugar should be limited, and the same goes for sugary drinks. 

If your family’s nutrition is currently far from ideal, meaning that you’re relying on grab-and-do options and pre-packaged snacks, don’t despair. Start introducing changes to your diet one step at a time, as even making a small change every day may lead to success.

3.   Reduce Temptations

The availability of “temptations,” such as salty snacks and ones high in sugar or fat, should be reduced so that your children can form healthy eating habits. Such food should be considered a treat and allowed to eat from time to time, only on special occasions. 

There are many delicious and healthy snacks that you can serve your children that are nourishing and easy to prepare:

  • Sliced pears with ricotta cheese,
  • A couple of oven-baked kale chips,
  • A banana or an apple,
  • Celery with peanut butter and raisins,
  • A cup of grapes or blueberries,
  • Tuna wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

4.   Limit Their Screen Time

Playing computer games, watching TV or videos, and surfing the internet are sedentary activities. When kids spend hours glued to different screens instead of being physically active, it can lead to weight gain and the development of unhealthy habits.

The World Health Organization recommends no screen time for children under 2, while those from 2 to 5 should spend no more than an hour a day. Follow the guidelines, and set rules for TV and mobile phone use. The fewer hours your kids spend on these devices (except for educational purposes), the better. 

5. Ensure They Get Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep makes us eat more and less physically active. 

That’s why insufficient sleep is often associated with obesity. To prevent this, you should ensure your young one gets enough shut-eye every day, with a regular bedtime and wake-up time. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one-year-olds require some 11- 14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, while for those 3-4 years old, 10-13 hours of sleep are mandatory. Children aged from 6 to 12 years need some 9 to 12 hours of quality sleep, while teenagers should catch 8 to 10 hours of zzz’s.

By following the tips above, you’ll prevent your children from developing weight problems and help them form habits that will ensure a healthy and active lifestyle.

What are the 10 causes of obesity?

There are many factors that can contribute to obesity, including:

  1. Overeating: Consuming more calories than the body burns can lead to weight gain and obesity.

  2. Lack of physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle that involves little or no physical activity can contribute to weight gain.

  3. Genetics: Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the condition.

  4. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome, can cause weight gain.

  5. Medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants and steroids, can cause weight gain as a side effect.

  6. Age: As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and gain fat, which can contribute to weight gain.

  7. Pregnancy: Some women gain weight during pregnancy and may have difficulty losing weight after giving birth.

  8. Poor sleep: Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can lead to weight gain.

  9. Stress: Chronic stress can cause people to turn to food as a coping mechanism, leading to weight gain.

  10. Social and cultural factors: Environmental and societal factors, such as access to healthy food options and cultural norms, can contribute to obesity.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].