Eight Gold-worthy Ways to Cure Childhood Obesity

children playing video gamesBy Anna Rodriquez

Informer Media Group

People used to think that overweight kids were cute and cuddly. Today, the World Health Organization warns us that childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Globally, there are over 42 million overweight children (under age of five) in 2010. With the prevalence increasing dramatically, this number is expected to rise to 60 million by 2020.

So why bother to watch our kids’ weight if they are most likely to lose the unwanted fats as they grow up? Because experts from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA say that even at a young age, obese children are more likely to develop high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems. In the long run, they develop higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer.

With the health risks and rising prevalence of child obesity, parents are called to address their children’s physical fitness or children in the future may face a shorter lifespan than their parents. Here is what experts tell parents to do in order to combat this disease.

1. Choose what they eat

Parents should begin by serving a healthy diet at home. Choose foods that your children eat. This doesn’t mean stopping them from eating when they’re hungry. Remember that children need food to grow and develop. Simply choose the ones that provide the essential nutrients, like fruits and vegetables, and avoid those excessive in fat and sugar. Or better yet, teach your children to make the right choices. Prepare fruits and vegetables of different cuts and colors to arouse their interest. Educate them on the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet.

2. Snack attack

Growing children may eat more in-between meals. Instead of controlling the craving, why not make healthy snacks available at home. Cut on the junk and processed foods, stock on the natural ones, and ensure that your children eat in moderation. Eventually, you may develop their cravings towards the right kinds of snacks.

3. Pure, clear water

As you cut on sweet food, don’t forget to cut on sweet drinks too. Water is still the best drink to keep the body hydrated and expel waste products. It should not be replaced by soda or sugary fruit drinks. Beware that once introduced to sweet drinks, children have the tendency to get hooked.

4. Crush the calories

Experts say that obesity is the result of “caloric imbalance” – meaning too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. So how can you burn the excess calories? Through physical activities. Experts advise outdoor play to subsist kids’ obesity. Governments recognize too that children get fit at playgrounds, and so provide commercial playground equipment in different neighborhoods.

5. Play as reward

Here’s an old-fashioned trick that parents used to do … What do you do when your child cleans up his room? Give him a candy. When he gets a school award? Give him a chocolate bar. And when he gets hurt, how do you stop him from crying? Give him a whole bag of sweets until he stops crying. The result? Having a child who’s responsible, studious and courageous … and obese.

Giving a reward or incentive is a time-tested strategy to motivate a child, but parents must be mindful that as they try to encourage a certain behavior, they also create a desire for the reward itself. So before giving sweets as reward, think again. Why not use a reward that is more rewarding, such as increased play time in the playground? An article from Playgroundequipment.com cited that parents may use playgrounds to combat kids’ obesity, at the same time, offer incentives for remarkable behavior.

6. Limit video games

Children playing video games sit around for hours and potentially strain their eyes. Online video games do not only encourage inactivity, they also possibly expose children to violence and obscenity. So start limiting your children’s time in video games, and encourage them for more playground play. Not only does outdoor play provide exercise, it also builds the immune system, stimulate the imagination and promote problem-solving skills.

7. Limit TV time

Television does not promote health, promoting physical inactivity and destructive influences especially in young minds. Today’s TV shows are bombarded with commercials that lure children into thinking that junk food, sweets and soda as essential in enjoying childhood. Be watchful of the false messages that your children may get through television.

8. Lead by example

The best teaching method is role-modeling, so start leading by example. Show your children how much you value your health, so they may learn to be value theirs too. Serve healthy meals in your dining table for the whole family to enjoy. Encourage playground fitness by joining them at outdoor play. Teach them that being watchful of your weight is not just for vanity reasons, but to build a healthy mind and body, and to live life to the fullest.

Healthy eating and physical activity lowers the risk of childhood obesity. As parents, we know that we cannot watch what our children do and eat all the time. Hence, the best way to combat this disease is to guide our children into forming healthy lifestyle habits – encouraging daily exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. The efforts we invest today will bear fruits for a lifetime.

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