Join   Sign In  

10 Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity


Childhood obesity has been on the rise in both kids and teens in recent years. The good news is it's a condition that is usually preventable with a little attention to diet and exercise.

Defined as being well above the average weight for height and age, childhood obesity can lead to a number of physical and mental health issues. Kids who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, among other concerns. They are more likely to be bullied by other kids and could suffer from low self-esteem and depression. And obese kids are more likely to grow up to be obese adults, with the accompanying health issues. Given all this, many parents are increasingly concerned and wondering what steps they can take to prevent their children from becoming overweight.

Managing Calories

Managing weight gain in children and teens is all about balance, similar to how it is for adults. In general, kids need to balance their calorie intake with their calorie burn, which for kids includes both physical activity and physical growth. Choosing healthy foods and being active is important not just for adults, but for kids too.

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

As their caregivers, parents play a big role in kids' overall health. Here are some things you can do to promote healthy lifestyles at your house:

  1. Serve regular, healthy meals and snacks. Make it a priority to sit down and eat together as a family. Whenever possible, teach your child how to prepare healthy food at home.
  2. Keep healthy snacks like string cheese, apple slices, baby carrots, hummus, and dried fruit on hand for quick and easy snacks.
  3. Model good habits by serving yourself plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain foods.
  4. Skip the fruit juice and other sugary drinks and give your kids water to drink with snacks. Milk is a good choice with meals.
  5. Limit meals at restaurants, and junk foods like chips, candy, cookies, and crackers.
  6. Make treats live up to their name: they're called that for a reason! They shouldn't show up at every meal or snacktime.
  7. Choose to be active! Get your kids up and moving with fun sports games, dance parties, and walks to the park. Provide bikes, scooters, and balls for outdoor fun. Plan active family activities.
  8. Exercise with your kids. Jog along while they ride their bikes. Put on your swimsuit and play in the pool. Your kids will be more likely to adopt good habits if they see you doing them too.
  9. Keep TV and screen time (including video games!) to two hours or less each day.
  10. Encourage your little one to get up and run around during commercials and breaks.

When Is It Time To See A Doctor?

If you're concerned about your child's weight, talk to your pediatrician. S/he can check your child's weight-for-height and advise you on your child's individual health. If your little one is on the heavier side, it's important to be sensitive in how you talk to your child about it. Emphasize healthy behaviors and give positive reinforcement for good choices rather than fat-shaming or disparaging your child. And never put your child on a diet without the guidance of your doctor.

7 Ways to Get Your Preschooler to Try New Foods 4

You Might Like