Everyone seems to covet that chubby baby with the round face and dimples in all the right places, but when should a parent be concerned that maybe that cherished baby fat isn’t melting away quite like you thought it would? We all want our children to have the best start in life and starting out with weight issues is not something any of us want for our kids. Childhood obesity has some steep implications for physical health not just as a child, but throughout life (studies suggest that many overweight children will also be overweight adults), as well as creating self-confidence issues and the chance of being teased and bullied. So what can be done as parents to help ensure your child has the best chance at a healthy weight?
- Talk to Your Doctor: First and foremost, you should discuss any concerns about your child’s weight with their doctor. He will be able to better discern whether or not your child is truly overweight for their height and age and what an appropriate plan could be to ensure your child’s good health.
- Provide Good Food Choices: I have known children who will only eat a select few items (mainly processed foods) and refuse to eat anything else. It is important to help your child develop a liking for good foods while they are young-whole grains, veggies, fruits, and low-fat dairy (after 2 years old). Allowing them to get into the habit of only eating certain things that “taste good” or to eat mainly junk food could set them up for a never-ending battle with weight.
- Establish a Routine of Exercise: In today’s society there is far too much sitting around going on. Getting kids active doesn’t HAVE to require signing them up for every class the community has to offer. All they need is the chance to run, climb, chase, play, jump, and anything else that kids naturally love to do. It doesn’t hurt to have a good role model as well. Showing your child how important exercise is to you will go a long way in establishing healthy habits for the whole family.
- Turn OFF the TV and Video Games: Without a doubt, sitting in front of a TV for hours of the day does everything to encourage weight issues and nothing to promote a healthy lifestyle.
- Limit Sugary Drinks and Sodas: Calories that come from sugary drinks and sodas add up fast and provide little nutritional benefit. Toddlers and kids who constantly pack around bottles and sippy cups filled with these types of drinks may be consuming many more calories than they need. Getting your child drinking out of a cup and possibly diluting juices (especially apple) with a little bit of water will cut some calories, but still keep your little one hydrated. Not to mention, their teeth will be healthier too!
Remember: It is not necessary or recommended to put your child on a restricted calorie diet. Simply making these lifestyle adjustments will likely be all they need to shed any unwanted weight, but more importantly establish lifelong habits that will propel them into healthy adulthood.
You can also check out this site featuring home gym systems that could provide a convenient way to improve your health.