Childhood Obesity Prevention - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Childhood Obesity Prevention

CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION

PRVENTION

Schedule yearly well-child visits.

Take your child to the doctor for well-child checkups at least once a year. During this visit, the doctor measures your child's height and weight and calculates his or her BMI. Increases in your child's BMI or in his or her percentile rank over one year, especially if your child is older than 4, is a possible sign that your child is at risk of becoming overweight.

Set a good example.

Make sure you eat healthy foods and exercise regularly to maintain your weight. Then, invite your child to join you.

Avoid food-related power struggles with your child.

You might unintentionally lay the groundwork for such battles by providing or withholding certain foods - sweets, for instance - as rewards or punishments. As a general rule, foods aren't recommended for behavior modification in children.

Emphasize the positive.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle by highlighting the positive - the fun of playing outside or the variety of fresh fruit you can get year-round, for example. Emphasize the benefits of exercise apart from helping to manage their weight, for example, it makes their heart, lungs and other muscles stronger. If you foster your child's natural inclination to run around, explore and eat only when hungry - not out of boredom - a healthy weight should take care of itself.

Be patient.

Many overweight children grow into their extra pounds as they get taller. Realize, too, that an intense focus on your child's eating habits and weight can easily backfire, leading a child to overeat even more, or possibly making him or her more prone to developing an eating disorder.

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

 

To increase your child's activity level:

Limit recreational screen time to fewer than two hours a day.

A surefire way to increase your child's activity levels is to limit the number of hours he or she is allowed to watch television each day. Other sedentary activities - playing video and computer games or talking on the phone - also should be limited.

Emphasize activity, not exercise.

Your child's activity doesn't have to be a structured exercise program - the object is just to get him or her moving. Free-play activities, such as playing hide-and-seek, tag or jump-rope, can be great for burning calories and improving fitness.

Find activities your child likes to do.

For instance, if your child is artistically inclined, go on a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks that your child can use to make a collage. If your child likes to climb, head for the nearest neighborhood jungle gym or climbing wall. If your child likes to read, then walk or bike to the neighborhood library for a book.

If you want an active child, be active yourself.

Find fun activities that the whole family can do together. Never make exercise seem a punishment or a chore.

Vary the activities.

 Let each child take a turn choosing the activity of the day or week. Batting practice, bowling and swimming all count. What matters is that you're doing something active.

children who have related health concerns. Weight loss should be slow and steady - anywhere from 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) a week to 1 pound a month, depending on your child's situation.

The methods for maintaining weight or losing weight are the same: Your child needs to eat a healthy diet and increase his or her physical activity. Success depends largely on your commitment to helping your child make these changes. Think of eating habits and exercise habits as two sides of the same coin: When you consider one, you also need to consider the other.

HEALTHY EATING

Parents are the ones who buy the food, cook the food and decide where the food is eaten. Even small changes can make a big difference in your child's health.

When buying groceries, choose fruits and vegetables over convenience foods high in sugar and fat. Always have healthy snacks available. And never use food as a reward or punishment.

Limit sweetened beverages, including those containing fruit juice. These drinks provide little nutritional value in exchange for their high calories. They also can make your child feel too full to eat healthier foods.

Sit down together for family meals. Make it an event - a time to share news and tell stories. Discourage eating in front of a screen, such as a television, computer or video game. This leads to fast eating and lowered awareness of how much you're eating.

Limit the number of times you eat out, especially at fast-food restaurants. Many of the menu options are high in fat and calories.

children who have related health concerns. Weight loss should be slow and steady - anywhere from 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) a week to 1 pound a month, depending on your child's situation.

The methods for maintaining weight or losing weight are the same: Your child needs to eat a healthy diet and increase his or her physical activity. Success depends largely on your commitment to helping your child make these changes. Think of eating habits and exercise habits as two sides of the same coin: When you consider one, you also need to consider the other.

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