Childhood Obesity: How Can We Stop This Problem?
Childhood obesity is becoming more and more prevalent throughout the world, especially in Westernized countries. This is very troubling to say the least. Cardiovascular disease is one of the top causes of death for Americans and has been so for quite some time now. And by the looks of it, it doesn’t look like things are changing anytime soon either. So, where does this leave our children?
It should come to no surprise that children of obese parents often end up becoming obese themselves, due to them emulating their parents and looking up to them as role models during childhood. However, some of these children are following suit way too early and are becoming increasingly overweight. A young child is not meant to carry excess weight that bears down on their little growing bodies. If a child isn’t brought up in a healthy environment, some serious ramifications can manifest.
Besides this, there can be a plethora of cardiovascular complications that can arise at a very young age due to unhealthy eating habits. You may think to yourself that eating excess sweets and cakes won’t harm them because they’re still very young. This thinking can’t be further from the truth. Instilling a way of thinking and pattern of behaviors in young children that say it is OK, and even encouraged to indulge in gluttonous eating, makes it extremely difficult to change their behavior as they get into their teenage years and early adulthood.
Starting children off young by teaching them that eating McDonald’s breakfast every morning is perfectly fine and that you should be completely ignorant to your health is setting your kids up for some serious hurdles as they age. I’m not saying here that everyone should be strict vegans. That’s obviously not the solution to stopping childhood obesity.
However, it is up to the parents or guardians of the parents to accept responsibility of their children and instill healthy habits that they will want to emulate. This is just one possible solution to this problem. And yes, this is clearly not an easy solution. I doubt any solution to childhood obesity is an easy one. However, it seems like an obvious place to start to say the least.
Making exercise fun for kids
To get kids to workout, you have to make them actually “want” to do it. That means you have to make it fun for them. When exercise becomes fun, kids no longer see working out as a “chore”. There are many different ways that you can make exercise fun for kids that will help them to reduce their risk for becoming obese, as well as reducing their risk for developing cardiovascular or metabolic diseases.
One way you can go about doing this is to find out what sports or activities they enjoy and participating in it with them. Go to the park on a specified day every week and throw the foot ball or play soccer with them. Getting kids to participate in athletics are one of the best ways to get them exercising and in good health.
You can also give rewards to your kids every time they finish a workout or outdoor activity that caters to improving their health. This will make them realize that they will get praise for exercising. Thus, making them want to exercise more frequently. Another very effective way to help make exercise fun for kids is to plan active play dates with your child and their friends. This is a sure way to get your children up and moving in no time!
How to get kids to eat healthy
I will admit, getting kids to eat healthy is often much more difficult than getting kids to be active. There is a lot more at play here when it comes to food and how it is specifically advertised for children. However, there are still many things you can do to encourage healthier eating habits with your kids. For one, you can simply eat healthier yourself. This inevitably means that there will be much less, if any, junk food laying around your house. Convenience is a huge factor that makes eating unhealthy foods, well, easier to justify.
You can start by adding more fruit in your household. You may want to hold off on the brussels sprouts and squash for now. It may be a better idea to slowly introduce healthier foods to your children, rather than bombarding them with everything at once. Yummy fruits like apples, grapes, and pineapples will help to crave their sweet tooth, all while providing them with the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and flourish.
Try ditching the sodas and chocolate milk and instead have them drink water and natural fruit juices. Also, you’ll want to try and cook less red meat too as it typically contains high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. It should also be said that you should limit eating out at restaurants/fast food too. This is not to say that you should no longer go out to eat, because you definitely can, you need only be more cognizant of your choices when you find yourself eating at a restaurant.
For more on childhood obesity, check out this article here.