More than 23 million children in the United States are either overweight or obese, and weight issues can lead to a number of other ailments, both mental and physical. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and other cardiovascular risks are all issues associated with obesity, both in children and adults. Combating this issue is not an impossible feat, and this article will detail ways to prevent weight issues in children.
1. Recognize the Problem
Similar to identifying allergies in babies and children, identifying poor eating habits at an early stage is paramount to preventing weight issues with children. Seeing a child get sick due to certain food is definitely easier than recognizing a path to obesity, but not that much easier. If a child loves food, that is not a be all and end all, nor a guaranteed path to obesity, but it should be a sign leading to a deeper evaluation of the child an his or her eating habits.
Not all children with extra pounds are on their way to obesity, as some are simply larger framed and need more food. However, taking a look at said child’s eating habits and ensuring they’re healthy ones is an important first step in preventing obesity. If you believe your child is showing symptoms of potential obesity, consulting a doctor to measure a child’s body mass index (BMI) will determine whether or not the eating habits are healthy or are too much of a good thing.
2. Adjust the Diet
If your doctor determines a child is on a path to obesity, the first step is controlling his or her diet. Habits in children are easier to break than in adults, and eating is no exception. Introducing vegetables, fruit, and healthy amounts of dairy in place of sugary and salty foods is a great start to healthy eating habits.
Infants grow exponentially faster than even toddlers and teens, so if you have a big baby, start early with healthy eating habits to ensure their caloric intake comes from healthy sources and keep that habit strong. From infants all the way to teens, it is recommended that less than 10 percent of total calories come from sugars and saturated fats.
3. Increase Exercise
Options for active lifestyles increase with age, but even infants can get a workout with a little bit of help. Putting your infant on his or her stomach builds neck, arm, shoulder, back and stomach muscles that do not get worked out when a wee one is on its back, as they most often are. Guided sit-ups are also a way to help your baby burn fat, as well as carefully moving their feet in a bicycle position.
For toddlers, combating childhood obesity is a bit easier, and simply encouraging some tricycle rides and ball throwing and chasing can greatly increase fat burning in youngsters. Ultimately, keeping tabs on weight has also been proven to keep away mental issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty with socialization as well.
4. Turn Off the TV
Even if your child is a bit hesitant to exercise, his or her imagination is still young and wild. Simply telling them “no more videogames” will result in a natural want to do something, and prone activities aren’t very plentiful when the TV is off. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend less than 2 hours of screen time for toddlers, and believes that children under the age of 2 shouldn’t ever watch the TV.
Although chubbiness can be quite cute, it is never to early too take steps to prevent childhood obesity. The longer the wait, the greater a child has of developing serious issues that can last a lifetime, like fatty liver disease, sleep disorders, heart problems, diabetes, and mental issues relating to bullying and low self-esteem. Recognize and react even if you have even the slightest inclination of obesity in your youngster. You’ll be doing him or her a lifelong favor.