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Working to Prevent Obesity in Today’s Children
How to get your child to eat healthy snack foods and improve the diet:
While it doesn’t take much to convince kids to go outside to the playground to get their daily dose of physical activity, navigating nutritious food options can be easier said than done. Here are a few tips and tricks that adults may want to consider.
Reduce junk food, don’t eliminate it.
Sugary and fatty snacks are most popular among young children, so it can be difficult to get rid of them completely. Reducing the amount of junk food kids eat can keep them happy while making room for healthier options like fruit slices, yogurt, vegetable sticks and nuts.
Set standard snacking times.
Another great way to keep kids on a beneficial diet plan is to set regular snack times so kids aren’t always trying to sneak a cookie or candy bar at odd hours. By allowing children to have a short snack at the end of the school day or mid-morning, you will help stave off hunger pangs without destroying their appetite for a nutritious snack can also keep children’s metabolism strong and active – an important factor in the fighting obesity.
Try them in eating healthy food
Kids can be picky about what foods they want to eat and when, so having flexible options for healthy snacks can help them eat well. For example, offering a delicious bowl of yogurt with fruit will help them get the calcium and vitamins they need. Likewise, a fruit smoothie can be a nutritious alternative to chocolate milk or a can of soda. By disguising healthy food as snacks, you can encourage children to improve their diet in a fun and easy way.
Three preventive tips for childhood obesity:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past three decades. In 1980, only 7 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11 were classified as obese. By 2008, that percentage jumped to almost 20 percent. As for older children aged 12 to 19 years, obesity increased from 5 percent to 18 percent over the same period. To be clear, there is a difference between being characterized as overweight and obese. The CDC defines obesity as being overweight for a certain height due to fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these parts. Conversely, obesity only refers to having too much body fat. Both conditions come across as having a caloric imbalance, with not enough calories being burned through physical activity to compensate for calories consumed.
So what can you do to prevent the spread of childhood obesity? Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to getting kids up and moving!
Go outside and play
First, it is important for children to burn excess calories that they consume during daily meals and snacks. Stressing that a single obese child needs more physical activity can be alienating and discouraging, so it’s best to encourage all children—whether in a church group, family, or classroom—to spend more time walking outside, participating in organized sports or just playing on a playground.
Maintain weight through healthy eating
Although it is vital to reduce the intake of fatty fast food and fatty snacks of obese children, the focus should be on good health and not losing weight, notes the New York Department of Health. By maintaining their current weight, children can grow to a healthy weight as they get older. Encouraging diets full of healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products and whole grains can set children on the right path.
Cutting sedentary time
Time spent on sedentary activities such as surfing the Internet, watching TV, playing video games or simply lounging indoors should be kept to a minimum to encourage children to exercise, notes the CDC. Ideally, kids should get a half hour to an hour of physical activity at least four or five times a week, and placing limits on indoor fun will encourage kids to play on playground equipment or start a game of wiffle ball outside.
Learn kids diet tips and tricks for healthy living:
It’s not just up to parents to police their kids’ dietary habits—kids need to be involved in the conversation, too. So, in addition to letting small children spend a lot of time on playground equipment, here are some tips and tricks to teach children about improving their eating habits.
Learn the importance of hydration
It is no big secret that drinking a lot of water is important for living a healthy life, especially with children in a prime stage of development. But staying well hydrated is also important from a dietary perspective. For starters, drinking water helps the body’s metabolism function effectively, so children can burn calories from food during the day. A glass of water can also fight against hunger pangs that can occur near mealtimes. Encourage children to drink several glasses of water each day to keep their digestion in check.
Doing snack time right
Many schools have a snack time in place for hungry children. Although this may seem like a bad idea from a nutritional point of view – especially if snacks consist of junk food and sweets – it can actually be done in a way that benefits children. First of all, replacing cookies and potato chips with nutritious options like fruit slices, yogurt, and nuts can help kids get the nutrients they need. In addition, eating a small snack between meals can boost children’s metabolism,
Get plenty of rest
You might not think that sleep has anything to do with a healthy diet, but you would be wrong. Getting a full eight hours of sleep every night is important for a strong digestive system. Additionally, being well-rested reduces overall stress and anxiety levels, which can take a heavy toll on the body’s ability to burn calories and convert food into energy.
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