The Importance of Helping Children Learn to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Over the years, the number of overweight children in the country has dramatically increased. It’s estimated that around 10% of children between the ages of 4 and 5 are overweight.

For many children, being overweight is the result of unhealthy eating patterns and a sedentary lifestyle.

Since September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we've put together a few tips to help your child follow a healthier path.

Healthy Eating Has Many Benefits

When children follow a healthy diet, they enjoy:

Following a healthy diet and concentrating on nutrition are simple and important ways to prevent obesity.

What’s more, healthy eating is known to prevent a host of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Healthy dietary habits are more likely to stay with you when you learn them as a child. That’s why you should teach children good habits from a young age and help them learn how to maintain a healthy weight.

Helping Your Child Along a Healthy Path

When children are young, it is up to parents to provide an environment that helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s explore how you can be a positive role model and help your child maintain a healthy weight and body image.

Play Together as a Family

Children need around 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Have fun playing with your children, whether it’s taking them to the community center for activities, going biking as a family, or playing soccer in the park.

Teach Mindful Eating

Create a no-screen rule at meal times, and help your children concentrate on their food by being present at meal times. Talk to them about listening to internal body cues, like what it feels like to feel hungry or full.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Breakfast isn’t all about cereal and milk. Try different things like a breakfast burrito or delicious smoothies to create healthy variety.

Make Mealtimes Family Time

Eating your meals together can make a difference to your family’s overall health and happiness. It’s more cost-effective to make dinners at home anyway, and the perfect opportunity to catch up with one another.

Create a Rainbow of Goodness

It’s reported that children need about one-and-a-half cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables each day. Serve up fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables at each meal and for snacks.

Don’t Use Food as a Reward or Punishment

Using food as a reward, or forbidding it, increases your child’s desire for the food. Instead limit portion sizes, and use non-food rewards for good behavior, like a game of Frisbee in the park or a bike ride on the weekend.

Be Responsible When You Eat Out

When you eat out as a family, look for nutritious options for your child, like grilled wraps. If you order takeout, you can add a delicious side salad or a glass of low-fat milk.

Limit Sugar-Laden Drinks

Fruit drinks and soft drinks contain heaps of added sugars. Avoid these kinds of beverages, and try iced tea or homemade lemonade with half the sugar content as pre-prepared drinks.

Take TVs Out of the Bedroom

Kids who get the right amount of sleep are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and perform better both mentally and physically. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests removing TVs from a child’s room to reduce screen time and introduce healthy sleeping habits.

Get the Right Help for Your Child

Dr. Rohit Suri provides weight management for children and adolescents. If you need help teaching your child how to maintain a healthy weight, book a consultation at Nova Physician Wellness Center today.

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