Top 5 Healthy Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity
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 modern-age pandemic – diabetes.
If you have any concerns that your cute little toddler is a bit on a chubby side, read on to discover the top 5 healthy tips to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal development and growth.
However, as Middle Class Dad pointed out – no one likes hypocrites, not even the kids. It’s one of the essential parent’s duties to model the behavior they expect to see in their children. So, remember that the tips you’ll find below will have the desired effect only if you practice them yourself!
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 the 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 developing 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 be 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.
I am a freelance writer and a new father. Becoming a father for the first time is not easy, but it is so much happiness that complicated things are handled in the best way because the baby is the fruit of love and he brings great satisfaction. I enjoy writing about health, food, nutrition, and children’s health for other parents. Freelance writing has always been my passion so I combined the two and hopes to be able to share my passion with others!