Childhood obesity is one of the most serious epidemics facing people in the world today. Because an increasing number of children can be classified as obese, the risk of there serious illnesses like diabetes is constantly on the increase. As a result, children are far less healthy than at any other time in the history of the world. Childhood obesity, though, is not something every child must face. Childhood obesity is completely preventable through these easy tips.
One of the first things you can do to prevent childhood obesity is to teach children about healthy eating habits. Eating habits begin at birth. If possible, you should breastfeed your infants. Studies show that infants who are breastfed are far less likely to become victim to the childhood obesity epidemic than those who are formula fed. As your infant grows, learn which cries are feeding cues and which are cues to other kinds of problems. Feeding your child every time he or she cries starts the cycle of obesity. Once the cycle begins, it can be very difficult for the child to break out of the process. As your child gets older, try to teach the difference between eating because you are hungry and eating simply because food is a tasty treat.
Children are ready to learn this concept as soon as preschool, and understanding the physiological need to eat is an essential concept in the prevention of childhood obesity. Do not forget that children will need regular snacks as part of a healthy diet, but children should not be taught that snacking throughout the day is a good habit to begin.
Another thing you can do to help prevent childhood obesity in your children is to teach your children about nutritious foods. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be a regular part of your childs diet. The food guide pyramid can help you decide how much of each category your child needs to consume to get a health, well balanced diet. In general, a child of age three should consume five ounces of grains each day. At least half of those things in the category should be whole grains. Some foods that might round out this category for your child could be whole grain cereal, pasta, and bread. A child of three should also have one and one half cups of vegetables each day. The vegetable intake should vary on both a daily and weekly basis.
In general, more dark, leafy greens should be included than any other type of vegetable. Orange vegetables like carrots and yams as well as dried beans like pinto beans and lentils should also fit into this category. Any typical diet for a three year old should include one and one half cups of fruits each day as well. This should include a variety of fruit, whether fresh, frozen, or canned. Fruit juice intake should be seriously limited within this category, as juice contains more calories than strong nutritional content. Milk is the next part of a healthy three year olds diet.
A three year old should consume at least two cups of milk products each day. Good milk products to work into this category include low fat yogurt, cheese, and milk. The final part of your three year olds diet should be four ounces of meat and beans each day. Try to include only lean meats and poultry, and be sure to vary the child intake on a weekly basis.
Diet, though, is only one component of a plan to fight childhood obesity. Exercise and an active lifestyle should also be part of your child daily routine. Studies show that kids as young as two spend their days in front of a television instead of playing childhood games. Any bit of physical movement uses a child energy and helps to burn calories. Whether your child is running through the dining room playing super hero or kicking a ball around in the backyard, all physical activity is essential to fighting obesity. Try simple activities like riding bikes, taking walks, or dancing in the living room. Summer activities like swimming are also good ways to model a healthy lifestyle for your child.
Remember that the best tool in the fight against childhood obesity is you. Teach your children how to live healthy, and you will be part of the winning team.