Nutrition

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Preventing Childhood Obesity

Preventing Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is one of the growing problems in the United States. More and more children are being affected with this condition. Not only do obese children become a target of criticisms and bullying in school, they are also prone to a host of health problems including but not limited to diabetes, heart ailments, bone disease, asthma, sleeping disorders, and even emotional difficulties.

Many obese children find it hard to cope with school, participate in physical activities (in fear of being poked fun of or ridiculed), and socialize with other children. Generally, they shy away from physical education classes and from meeting new people. This makes them just eat more, which makes them gain more weight.

Childhood obesity can be prevented. It is up to the parents to do something about this problem before their child develops obesity. Knowing more about this is the first step in effective prevention.

Causes

Reduce physical activity
More children today would rather spend time watching television or playing computer video games than go outside. This means less exercise. Lack of exercise can contribute to weight gain.

High sugar and fat diet
Junk foods have become a staple in many childrens diet. In fact, todays children eat triple the amount of junk foods that children did 20 years ago. The fact that marketing campaigns of fast food companies are targeted towards children and schools offer junk food and soft drinks to the students does not help at all.

Prevention

Motivate physical activity in your kid. If possible, give toys that encourage physical activity. Video games should not be encouraged.

Set a good example. If your kid sees that you are constantly munching on a bag of chips, it would be more difficult for him to reform his bad snacking habits. Be a good role model, show your kid that you have a healthy diet and that you eat fruits and vegetables. Aside from that, incorporate regular exercise into your life. Exercising with your kid would be more encouraging for him/her. This would make you healthy and fit as well.

Promote sports. Sports are fun competitive physical activities that would not bore your child. This is also great to hone not only his physical skills but also values like respect for people, teamwork, and sportsmanship. It will also help develop his social skills.

Do not use food as a reward. If your child did a good job on something, reward him with something else such as a new toy or book. Giving junk snack rewards reinforce this habit.

Limit television, computer and video game time. A kid should not do these activities for more than two hours a day. Do not allow them to sit in front of the television or computer the whole day. It is detrimental to their health.

Bring health issues to the attention of school authorities. Talk to the school principal regarding the unhealthy food choices of school cafeteria and vending machines. If they dont take you seriously, get other parents to help you in this cause. Most parents would be more than happy to support something that is important for their childrens health and wellbeing. If this still will not change a thing, just make it a habit to provide food for your childs lunch instead of letting him buy at the cafeteria.

Obesity is a problem that can grow out of control if not prevented or taken care immediately. See to it that you do your part as a parent to ensure that your kid is getting the proper diet and regular exercise he/she needs to thrive healthily.

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