By: Angelique Millis International Fitness Expert
With the convenience of fast-food on every corner and the increased popularity of computers and electronic gaming, it is no secret that childhood obesity has been on the rise for the past 3 decades. According to recent studies conducted on US Americans, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years. Approximately nine million children over 6 years of age are considered obese. Parents have an obligation to educate their children on exercise and diet, and to help form good habits in their youth so that they do not get out of control. When the weight piles on, children often endure negative experiences such as teasing by peers, low self esteem, emotional eating and of course, a wide variety of health issues so it is very important that parents take a proactive stance in establishing healthy habits in the home place.
Here are some tips that families can use to help prevent or overcome childhood obesity in their lives:
1. Food Planning. Many times the parents are to blame for the poor food choices their children make because they are the ones that are providing for their child. Parents can take a proactive stance against childhood obesity by planning their meals ahead of time and preparing healthy, low-fat versions of their kids' favorite foods
2. Get the kids involved. Children love to be included in healthy activities if you make it appealing for them. Start by letting them help you prepare healthy meals, and educate them on the proper food groups and portion sizes.
3. Refrigerator Raid. When you keep junk food in the house, it will only lead to temptation, plus kids will get used to the sugary snacks when they are always on-hand. Instead, take them out to get a treat once in awhile and limit their sugar intake.
4. Stop the Sedentary Lifestyle. Kids are full of energy - encourage them to go outside and play, like in the â€śgood old daysâ€ť. Limit their videogames and computer time so that the rest of their free time is spent doing something active with their friends.
5. Enroll them in their favorite sport. The YMCA is a great resource with plenty of activities for kids: basketball, hockey, baseball, you name it, they most likely offer it!
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