How often have you included a pack of chips (which your child is so fond of) into his daily eating habit? For most of us, our busy lifestyle barely allows us to prepare anything wholesome in the kitchen. With time, our stamina declines and dependency on processed and packed food items, especially the ready-to-eat ones, increases. The end result of this comes in the form of children gaining excess weight and turning obese.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), obesity in children has multiplied thrice during the past 30 years. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to assess obesity levels in children.
‘BMI-for-age’ is a relative illustration of your child’s BMI compared to the other children of the same age. Healthy weight is depicted from 5 to 85 percent. Less than 5 percent is considered underweight. Between 85 to 95 percent is considered overweight and 95th percent onwards is obesity. However, BMI has certain limitations and give inaccurate results at times, particularly when a child grows speedily compared to his age (as in puberty).
Obese children are prone to some serious health problems like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, sleep disorder and more. Besides, there is an emotional setback when an obese child gets teased by his/her friends and contemporaries. They may develop an inferiority complex in the child which may show in their lifestyle (like academic activities may deteriorate).
It is a growing concern for the parents of obese children, and prompt action needs to be taken to control it from becoming unmanageable. The obesity issue itself should not be considered a matter of time and given a sideline. You also should not misinterpret your child’s obesity to be genetic where you find yourself helpless. Obesity is an alarming signal which can continue with age to produce harmful outcomes. It has been revealed by studies that obesity among children and teenagers is an indicator of endurance and health later in their lives. A study on 227,000 Norwegians from adolescence to middle age has shown that overweight or obese teenagers were 3-4 times more liable to die of a heart ailment.
However, you can adopt preventive and calculative methods to ensure a healthy life for your child. Your home is the best place to begin. Your child will learn from you in the form of modelling. Initiate a healthy lifestyle by furnishing healthy food, modifying unwanted habits and incorporating a fitness regime. The process has to be gradual but regular. Your dietician or doctor can optimally advise you to remove the unwanted kilos from your child.
Engage your child in your cooking sessions. Keep your child informed about the nutrition that comes with healthy food and the harm imbibed in junk food. If feasible, let your child participate in your kitchen by assigning a job which can be easily done by them. Include more of fruits and less of fruit juices (the processed ones). Opt for fresh home-made juice instead of the packed one.
Sweeteners should be restricted, but not eliminated. Soda and other carbonated drinks should be avoided. Low-fat and the ‘good fat’, unsaturated fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), should be included as they are needed for the growth and development of your child.
High fat and ‘bad fat’, saturated fat and Trans fat, should be avoided. The ‘bad fat’ produces bad cholesterol and risk of getting heart ailments. In contrast, the fat from olive oil and grape-seed oil is healthy. You can replace butter in the pizza with any of the healthier counterparts. Replace white bread with wholegrain bread. Sausages, fatty lunch meats, chips, ice-creams should be avoided.
While it may not be possible for you to suddenly put a halt on your children’s unhealthy food choices, you have to be gradual and clever enough in devising ways to incorporate healthy habits in his/her daily chores.
Consult the school teacher for assistance as children spend considerable time in school and it is a place where you cannot monitor them all on your own. Eating in front of the TV has to be avoided. It delays satiety sensations and your child may over-eat. Maintain specific schedules, particularly for eating, and eat together with the entire family members. Meals should be given in small proportions and eating one big meal (at one time) should be avoided. You can use cleverly small containers/bowls to give the feel of increased quantity. Avoid dining out unnecessarily.
Include exercising habits in your child’s daily activities. The span may be short but regular workouts are a must. You can get your child registered in a sports institution wherein they can simultaneously learn and keep the body fit. Extracurricular activity should be aimed at engaging your child more on physical front for losing the extra kilos.
Sitting in front of the computer or TV needs to be restricted. By making exercising interesting for children, you can allure them to spend some time working with their body. Get yourself involved in the activity. Your child may be too tired to work out after the busy day at school. Offering a treat, like an outing at the weekend, may help.
Besides working on your child’s daily chores, you need to accommodate yourself as well to the demanding situation. If your child sees you watching TV, they would prefer to take it as an excuse later to his advantage. Use time judiciously to get the maximum benefit out of the 24 hours. Engage them in your daily chores like preparing the bed before sleeping, or watering the plants in the garden. You don’t have to put your child to strenuous exercise regimes or exercising to lose all the extra kilos at one go.
Your small but consistent efforts can help your child to overcome the problem of obesity!!!
About the author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger who enjoys writing on parenting and lifestyle the most. Her blog posts related to parenting generally surrounds around issues like child development and infant ache problems like Earache, stomachache etc.