No age is too young to adopt healthy habits. And as a parent, it’s never too early to introduce eating habits to your kids so they can maintain a healthy weight. These good habits, along with regular visits to a pediatric primary care professional, will ensure that your children will feel their best.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity affects about 14 million children and adolescents (aged 2-19 years old) across the country. It has become a severe problem in the United States that is putting the health of children and adolescents at risk. As alarming as this data is, there are ways that parents can do to help overweight children lose weight and maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).
Set a Good Example
A significant part of your parental responsibility is to teach your children to lead healthy lives. The ideal time to start imparting these teachings is when they are still young. Telling your kids what to do or what not to do will not always work. One of the most effective ways to teach children is to set a good example. They will need to see you making these habits as well.
Kids pick up most of their habits at home, from their parents. If everyone at home is eating microwavable dinners and other foods high in fat and sugar, then it’s easy to fall into that bad habit. Evaluate your family’s eating routine and behavior. Do you cook healthy meals or do you often get fast food takeout or heat up frozen dinners? If parents take a step towards healthy eating, then the children will follow as well. This simple act will help the children make healthy choices and develop lifelong good habits.
Every one of us – from kids to adults – all seem to be glued to our electronic gadgets. While technology has dramatically improved our lives, we still need to stay active and get regular physical activities. It’s recommended for kids to get a minimum of an hour of physical activity each day. Whether it’s joining a sports team in school or the community, or even just playing out in the backyard – whatever form of physical activity it is, it’s better than doing nothing.
As a family, you can engage in fun, group activities that will let you bond and stay active. However, make sure that the physical activities you plan are suited for your kids’ age, weight, and height. Talk to your pediatric primary care specialist to check what age-appropriate physical activities you can do.
Some of these activities are:
- Go on a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. This bonding activity encourages talking to your kids and asking them how their day has been, without phones or TV as a distraction.
- Go on nature hikes. It doesn’t have to be as intense as when it’s an adult activity; however, hiking with kids may get your heart rate up as much as regular soccer practice. While you’re at it, you can also enjoy some bird watching or pick up collectibles like leaves, rocks, or flowers, that you can add to your craft projects – another activity you can enjoy with your kids.
- Follow a YouTube tutorial. While Youtube and the internet as a whole have kept kids from doing any physical activity, you can turn this around. Good news is there are plenty of Youtube videos about different kinds of exercises you can follow. Whether it’s a simple aerobic or a quick yoga session, check out kid-friendly Youtube exercise videos and follow them along with your kids.
Eat Healthy Snacks
When your kids come from school, they’re always on the hunt for an after-school snack around the house. When all you have on hand are potato chips, cookies, or other sugary and unhealthy snacks, then naturally they would only grab those. While those foods are enjoyable to eat, they should only be taken in moderation. Stock your pantry with healthy snack items. Go for apple slices, carrot sticks, peanut butter, vegetables. Consult with your pediatric primary care specialist for other healthy snack options you can get for your kids.
Do You Have Any Concerns About Your Kids’ Weight?
If your child’s weight is becoming a serious issue, give us a call. Turn to a pediatric primary care specialist for effective and safe methods to help your kids shed excess weight and keep a healthy lifestyle.