Childhood obesity. It’s a problem that leads to more problems, like social isolation, depression and low self-esteem. In addition to the social and mental effects of childhood obesity, children who are obese are also at a greater risk for life-threatening health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Despite these frightening facts, the number of children experiencing childhood obesity has been on a continual rise for the last two decades. Why is that, and how do we solve this growing issue?
The short answer to the rise of childhood obesity is this–our children are consuming too many foods with high fat or sugar content. They’re also spending less time being active and more time doing sedentary activities like playing video games or watching television. As the hustle and bustle of everyday life continues to increase, so do bad habits that seemingly make a busy life easier. Many working parents turn to fast food or junk food for quick meals to accommodate their own busy schedules as well as their children’s schedules, which are now often filled with homework, sporting events, and after school activities.
As you can see, most childhood obesity cases are the result of lifestyle choices. The good news is, lifestyle choices and their consequences can often be reversed and childhood obesity is no different. Here’s a few simple changes you can make in your child’s lifestyle to fight obesity.
- Increase the amount of fruits and veggies your children eat. Adding more whole grains, nuts and legumes is also essential to promoting a healthier diet.
- Make sure your children get at least one hour of physical activity or exercise each day. Send your kids outside to play. Take away the tablets and game controllers and only return them after your children have accrued enough activity time for the day. Then, limit the amount of time they spend on their screens to 2 hours or less each day.
- Limit their sugar and total fat intake. Reducing the amount of saturated fats in your child’s diet is especially critical.
- Start meal planning and prepping. Spending a few hours on the weekend to prepare meals for the week takes the guesswork and time out of deciding what’s for dinner on busy school nights, and there are plenty of simple but healthy meals that take no time at all to cook that can be prepared ahead of time.
Is your child overweight and/or suffering from health problems because of their weight? EliteCare can help! Bring your child in for a physical exam and we’ll consult with you on ways to decrease their weight and promote a healthier lifestyle.