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5 Ways You Can Help Beat Childhood Obesity!

By taking steps towards battling childhood obesity early on in their life and taking a pro-active role yourself, you can help prevent this... Learn more.

By: Shannon Clark

Article Summary:
  • Try to teach your children smart food choices rather than dieting.
  • Limit their television time, and participate in their activities.
  • Be sure to compliment them in all areas of their lives.

  • 5 Ways You Can Help Beat Childhood Obesity!

    One big issue that's becoming a growing concern as time goes on is that of childhood obesity. All you have to do is walk around a playground to really get a good idea just how serious this issue is. With more and more kids growing overweight by the year, this is not only going to place a greater strain on our future health care system, but it's also going to impact these kids confidence with themselves as they grow older.

    Childhood Obesity Is An Every Growing Concern Lately.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Childhood Obesity Is An
    Every Growing Concern Lately.

    While bodyweight may not play that large of a factor in the younger ages of five to twelve, once they move past this mark they become more much aware of their larger body size and it will likely affect them in negative ways.

    By taking steps towards battling childhood obesity early on in their life and taking a pro-active role yourself, you can help prevent this from becoming a major problem in their lives.

    Here are some of the biggest things you should consider with regards to childhood obesity.

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    1. Emphasize Food Choices Over Dieting

      The first thing that you should be making sure you do is emphasizing better food choices over dieting. It's never a good idea to give the young child the impression that they should be restricting their food intake. This can lead to negative associations with food and foster the development of an eating disorder.

      Instead, you want to help your child make smarter choices when they are hungry. While you don't want to enforce food restriction, you should enforce them listening to their body's own hunger signals. This is the best way to get them in the habit of correlating their hunger with their food intake at a young age. Then down the road they will be less likely to eat for reasons other than hunger and more likely to stop eating once they are full.

      Aim to teach your children the importance of regularly including fruits and vegetables in their day along with lean sources of protein. Try and steer them away from large quantities of very carb-heavy sources such as pasta, large quantities of bread, and all the various snack foods that are available.

    Teach Your Children The Importance Of Fruits And Vegetables.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Teach Your Children The Importance
    Of Fruits And Vegetables.

      Instead focus on whole grain cereals, rice, potatoes, and oatmeal as their starchy carbohydrate sources. By getting them onto these sources at a younger age, there is less of a chance they develop a 'taste' for the other carbohydrate forms that can lead them to trouble later on.


    2. Find Activities They Enjoy

      Next, you also should be very concerned with finding activities that they enjoy. If a child gets a negative experience of 'exercise' at a young age, it's going to be much harder to remove this image from their mind later on.

      Instead, you should seek out activities that they will truly enjoy and want to take part in on a regular basis. Younger children and teenagers are primarily focused on the 'fun factor' in their life, and anything that isn't considered such is quickly going to get dropped for another activity.

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      What your aim to do will be to replace all their sedentary 'fun' activities with more active counterparts, so that they will gravitate to these instead.

      It's fine if they have the odd sedentary activity they enjoy (balance is important), but don't let your child become hooked on the computer, video games, or television as the primary means of passing their spare time.

    Don't Let Your Children Become Hooked On Television.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Don't Let Your Children Become Hooked On Television.


    3. Avoid Comparisons At All Costs

      Third, you also need to make sure that at no point you are comparing them to someone else. This is a very big mistake that some people do make and it can set your child up for a lifetime of low self-esteem and their own self-comparisons.

      At this young age they are very likely to internalize what they hear their parents and other role models saying. If you are comparing them in a negative way to other children their age, they are going to measure their own self-worth based on this and will not feel as though they are good enough.

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      Instead, you should place any comparisons you're making on their previous or hoped-for future behavior so they learn that the only person they should be comparing against is themselves.


    4. Be A Good Role Model

      It's important that you also take the time to assess your own behaviors with regards to eating, exercise, and your own body image when thinking about preventing your child from becoming overweight.

      If you are constantly criticizing your own body and how you look, your child will pick up on this. This is especially predominant among young girls, so really watch out for this in particular.

      You want to instead make sure you are modeling healthy exercise behaviors, possibly even trying to include your children and young teens in activities you enjoy (going for a bike ride, taking a walk, helping in the garden, etc).

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      Also be sure you are eating healthfully and often yourself, so your child can see this and try to simulate similar behavior.

      It's hardly fair to expect them to sit down and eat a full plate of food at the dinner meal if you choose to skip it altogether, so take the time to sit down with them and eat.

      Many families today are extremely busy and sometimes the traditional 'family dinner' does get skipped, but aim to make an effort to sit down together at least once a week for a well-balanced, nutritional meal.


    5. Give Compliments In Other Areas Of Their Lives

      Finally, the last thing you'll want to do is make sure that you're giving your child compliments with regards to other areas of their life. When you make them feel good about other aspects of themselves you will be doing two things.

    Make Sure You Compliment Your Children In All Areas Of Their Life.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Make Sure You Compliment Your
    Children In All Areas Of Their Life.

      First you will be enforcing the fact that their worth is composed of a variety of different factors, and second, you will increase their own beliefs in themselves, so then if they do end up struggling with a weight issue at any point, they will have the personal belief system in place to know that they can overcome this obstacle and get to the weight they'd like to be.


    Conclusion

    Childhood obesity is an issue that cannot be taken lightly. It may seem like it shouldn't be something you have to concern yourself with when the kids are at such a young age, but it's critical to remember that habits they develop now will be ones that will stick with them down the road. You must do everything you can to make these habits healthy ones.

    5 Ways You Can Help Beat Childhood Obesity!
    ShannonC_77@yahoo.ca

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