Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 11:30 am
Obesity in children has become a major health issue. Statistics continue to rise in many first-world countries, and millions of children suffer from childhood obesity.
As a parent, you need to be diligent about your child’s needs and activities.
Here are some helpful tips to prevent obesity from becoming a problem that impacts negatively on your childâ??s life.
Start at the very beginning
Make your child familiar with healthy food from the moment she starts on solid food. Do not introduce her to fast-, junk-, or processed foods. By restricting her in this way you will be helping her to make wise and healthy food choices as she grows into adulthood.
Be creative when preparing healthy meals
Children are known to be picky about certain foods, and many do not like all the foods on their plate mushed together. Give them a variety of raw and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Unpopular vegetables can be garnished with good quality olive oil, real butter, or a sprinkling of grated cheese.
When your child is really hungry, don’t fill her up with sugar/salt laden foods â?? give her a plate of fruit or freshly chopped carrots, tomato, sweet peppers, celery â?? if she’s really hungry, she’ll eat it.
Don’t use food as a reward for good deeds, good grades or for completing chores around the house
These will be regarded as incentives, and will not only give your child the false idea that she shall be rewarded at all times, but might also cause bad and irregular eating habits.
When having a meal in a restaurant or other eating place, be particular about the nutritional value of your child’s food choices. You are still the parent, therefore you still have control over your child’s meals even outside the house.
Train your child to make a habit of drinking lots of water
Get your child used to drinking lots of water instead of other beverages and especially unhealthy carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks are packed with sugar, and artificial chemicals â?? many of which have adverse health reactions and can contribute towards obesity. Eight glasses of water a day for an adult is standard, but young people need to adjust their water intake according to their age.
Get your child to engage in sports and outdoor activities
Encourage your child to participate in sports such as swimming, netball, athletics, etc. If your child shows an interest in a particular sport, show her you’re interested and facilitate her participation.
Help your child develop a positive self-image
“Comfort eating” is the result of a poor self-image. Encourage your child to focus on her good qualities and achievements instead of her bad side or her failures. Set a harmonious balance between praise and criticism, and help her to have faith in her abilities.
Be a role model
There is absolutely no point in dictating to your child about healthy eating when you do not act as a role model yourself by following a healthy lifestyle yourself.
Work with school officials to promote healthy food choices in the cafeteria and vending machines, and to develop ways for children to understand and appreciate the many benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Obese children have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease at an early age, and often experience further serious health problems such as asthma, sleeping disorders and psychological issues as they grow into adulthood.
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