Childhood obesity is becoming increasingly common and affecting kids which are younger and younger. The risks associated with childhood obesity, like diabetes and heart disease, are serious but are luckily still avoidable in the long run. There are ways to avoid or reverse the onset of such medical issues in children who may become or already are overweight.
As a parent, you have the opportunity to ensure that your child grows up to live a long and healthy life, here are 5 ways to fight childhood obesity.
Encourage healthy eating habits
Children need food to grow and develop into healthy adults. That said, not all foods provide the same energy values or sustenance to help in their development. Studies have shown that eating habits acquired by children when they are young go on to heavily impact the type of diet they will have as adults. A healthy diet for kids should be well balanced so as to ensure that they are getting all the key nutrients and should focus on whole foods. Avoiding processed foods which often overload on sugars, salts and fats, can help reduce the onset of childhood obesity. Encouraging kids to eat whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains and many more, guarantees a nutrient rich dish at every meal which keeps them satisfied and less likely to overeat. Ultimately, eating good food is what will give children all the energy they need to learn and enjoy their lives.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day
Adopting healthy eating habits not only concerns the actual food they are eating but also involves the times at which they are eaten. It is no coincidence that breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. Even though adults may get away with a coffee on the go, it is essential that children eat a good breakfast to help fuel their busy day. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day can help maintain kids’ energy and blood sugar levels which will reduce the chance of them reaching for sugary snacks throughout the day.
Reduce their screen time
From TVs and laptops to smartphones and tablets, screens have become a daily part of children’s lives. Although these can be great forms of entertainment, they do unfortunately all revolve around sitting. Whether it is on a couch or chair, the time spent in front of their screens is time during which they aren’t playing football in the garden or walking around the neighbourhood with friends. Limiting the amount of screen time children are getting is an effective way to encourage them to be more active throughout the day.
Sign them up to a sports lesson
Encouraging your kids to be more active is not always as easy as confiscating their phone or tablet. So, how do you motivate your kids to be more active? The best way is to encourage them to join a sports team or learn a new sport. Whether it is joining their school’s football team or learning how to swim, sports can help get children excited about being more physically active. Private sports lessons are a great way to encourage your child to discover a new sport or become more serious about one they have already tried.
Going Swimmingly London offers private sports activities and swimming lessons for children of all ages, in and around London. You can also find more tips on how to motivate your kids to be more active by having a look at our previous blog post.
Set a good example as a parent
Young children look up to their parents, often copying their behaviours. So set a good example for your children by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Remember: You are the biggest influence in their lives in the beginning, so it’s important to be a good role model before they’re out on their own.
Children are very impressionable, especially when it comes to what their parents do and don’t do. Setting a good example for your children by cooking healthy meals and living an active lifestyle is the most efficient way of instilling good habits and fighting childhood obesity. If you as a parent are also affected by obesity, it can be motivating for both you and your child to work on developing healthier habits and prevent childhood obesity from developing into serious long term medical issues.