Encouraging Healthy Eating and Exercise Habits in Children

In modern society it is estimated that one in three children is currently overweight. The statistic for adults is closer to one in two (50%), for this reason it’s crucially important that parents be proactive in dealing with childhood obesity in order to bring this disturbing trend under control so this generation does not become the first in hundreds of years to have shorter lifespans than their parents.

We all understand that there are several factors which have contributed to this dramatic increase in childhood obesity:

  1. We have busier lifestyles and therefore have less time to prepare nutritious, home made meals so more processed and fast food is consumed. It seems odd that with all the advances in technology that are supposed to make life easier we are busier than ever. This phenomena is easily explained however. The fact is that the technologies cost money so we are all working longer hours etc in order to afford the technologies so in fact it doesn’t make life easier at all, just increases our need for a greater income.
  2. Then of course we also tend to engage in less physical activity. It’s not as safe for children to play outside as it was 30 years ago when I was growing up. Combine that with the invention of gaming consoles and computers and children spend so much time on those pursuits. Thankfully, the giant gaming companies have started listening to parents and doctors concerns about the lack of activity in children and have begun developing console games that require movement like Wii sports etc.

While recognizing the causes is relatively simple, it’s not always so simple to create a solution.

Here are a couple of things you can do to help your children lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle to avoid becoming overweight in the first place:

  • Lead by example. Provide your children with an example of healthy eating and excercise habits. Let them see you enjoying these things, don’t make it look like a chore. Encourage them to come when you take the dog for a walk. A couple of times a week after work or school, rather than vegetating in front of the t.v., go for a swim, bike ride, kick a football, shoot some hoops or fly a kite. Arrange weekly family activities like bike rides, picnics in the park, ten pin bowling etc. The point is that if we foster a love of healthy food and outdoor activities our children are more likely to carry that outlook with them into adulthood, thus avoiding obesity in the first place.
  • If your child is already showing signs of being overweight there are a several things you can do to turn the tide. To start with, take them to your family physician for a complete checkup (the doctor can also offer advice on how to help them eat better). Then work with your child to lose weight, because if your child is overweight there is a good chance that you are also. Just as in step one, spend quality time together engaging in a wide range of fun activities. It’s vitally important that you don’t make this seem boring or a bore. Have fun with them but don’t lie to them about their weight (don’t tell them it’s ok to be fat because they have grandma’s hips) but don’t make them feel bad about themselves either. Let them know they are beautiful and worthwhile regardless of their weight and abilities. Just handle it logically and teach them the changes they need to make when it comes to what they should eat, and how much, as what they do for recreation.

When it comes to helping obese children develop healthy eating and exercise habits it’s all about making permanent changes to their outlook on food and exercise. Try to refrain from focusing on weight loss, focus on living a healthier lifestyle instead. Doing this will make your child less likely to feel negative about themselves and more likely to enjoy the time spent with family engaging in fun activities. Again, it can’t be stressed enough, DON’T FOCUS ON ‘WEIGHT LOSS’, FOCUS ON EATING PROPERLY AND BEING ACTIVE. If you make a big deal about their weight then they may develop self esteem issues. Focus on healthy living and your kids will learn great, healthy eating and exercise habits without feeling negative about themselves!

source : weightlosstips4kids


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