Childhood obesity is at its highest rate with a whopping 1/3 of children overweight, this number has TRIPLED from the last generation. In fact, today's generation of children may be the first generation to die younger than their parents. Even more frightening? Congress has declared PIZZA a vegetable to protect it from the nutritional overhaul of our school lunch program. And the plan to reduce sugar, salt and fat from food marketed to children? Struck down. Even the efforts by 24 states to impose a "soda tax" to discourage sugary drinks from our diets have been rejected at every turn.
These are the frightening facts.
If our schools and our government fail to protect our children from the harsh reality of obesity, how can we as parents stop the vicious cycle? How can we shield them from unhealthy habits when they step out of the protection of our homes into a blind world where Mac Donald's is consider a major food group?
5 Helpful Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Pack Your Child's Lunch
A study done on 1,297 sixth graders attending a Michigan public school saw that children who ate school lunches were more likely to be obese or overweight. This is not surprising when you think of some of the fattening foods that are served in a school cafeteria. So, let us replace that fried, greasy, calorie loaded cafeteria food with a healthier packed lunch! And get creative with your child's lunch! Eating healthy does not mean you have to eat boring and tasteless food. You can actually make the foods you love a healthier way! An example, my children love pizza rolls but I would never serve them those processed, fat ridden frozen ones found in the store. Instead, I make a healthier version Wonton Pizza Rolls.
What better way to keep your child active than by enrolling him/her in a sports program? Not only will it offer a FUN way to get in their exercise and burn off some extra energy; it will also be a great way for your child to learn sportsmanship, teamwork and meet some new friends! And while your child is getting the exercise he/she needs, you too can be burning off calories cheerleading from the sidelines!
Many experts believe that the rise in childhood obesity in America is directly related to the increased consumption of sodas and other sugary type drinks. Eliminate all sugary drinks from your home, this includes soda and fruit juices. Teach your kids to quench their thirst with water and before you know it they will start preferring water over soda!
Encourage your kids to live a healthier lifestyle by living one yourself; you are your child's biggest role model and first teacher after all! There are so many things you can do with your children to live a healthier lifestyle while also having that special family bonding time. You can go for walks as a family, ride bikes, cook healthy meals together and even have them join in YOUR fitness routine. Although, working out with your kids might not always turn out as you planned!
Let your kids have a treat now and then! Totally restricting all treats will backfire on you. If you don't let your child enjoy an occasional treat, they will become more likely to overeat on unhealthy foods as they grow older and become more independent. So let your kids splurge once and a while, splurge and get one yourself because you deserve it after all!
As someone who has suffered with obesity throughout my life, it is a subject near and dear to my heart. It is also a plague I do NOT want my children to have to endure. This is why I am so adamant on teaching them healthy habits as children so they can carry those habits with them into adolescence and adulthood. Protecting our children's health and wellness is more important now than ever before, especially if we are to beat this rising epidemic of obesity. It starts with you!
Disclosure: As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc