Obesity in children has become prevalent in several first world countries, and the statics have been on the rise since the last two decades. Almost 50% of children between the ages 2 to 17 fall into the overweight category and nearly 20% can be considered obese. The primary reason for abnormal weight gain is unhealthy eating habits and lack of mobility. Obesity at a young age leads to the propagation of several chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, bone/joint problems, asthma, and cardiovascular problems.
Develop Proper Feeding Patterns
As a parent or guardian, you are in control of molding your child’s feeding patterns. Many parents tend to overfeed their baby and as a result, the baby become chubby; but no one minds because it looks cute. We often ignore or fail to acknowledge that this attitude leads to the onset of obesity because we keep feeding the child more than his/her body requirement.
You need to provide a balanced diet from the beginning (when they are still infants), so that the habit is carried into adolescence. As the child gets older, encourage them to eat at appropriate mealtimes, rather than letting them munch at odd hours when they are not even hungry. Abstain from force-feeding and accept the fact that your kid cannot eat as much as a fully-grown adult. Consult a pediatrician or do your own research regarding appropriate food portions for your child (according to weight and height).
Encourage Healthy Foods
The parents and/or family are the role model for a child’s understanding and inclination towards food. If the grocery in your house largely consists of processed, inorganic, and fatty foods, your child is more likely to develop poor eating habits. Introduce a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats in your diet, and provide the same to children. Include other low-fat and high-protein organic foods like oatmeal, eggs, lentils/beans, and whole wheat. Foods that are rich in sugar and fat should be kept to the minimum. All children love candy, chocolate, fast food, and fizzy drinks etc., which contain an abundance of unwanted calories; instead of revoking these treats entirely, reduce the quantity and frequency of consumption.
Moreover, make sure your kid remains hydrated by drinking pure water, rather than sweet beverages. Monitor your child’s ‘snacking’ inside and outside the house. Home cooked meals with the family are a great way to inspire a healthy lifestyle; ordering pizza or eating at McDonald’s should be limited to once or twice a week.
Cut Back Screen Time
The millennials of our time have spoiled children by exposing them to T.V, smart phones, and Tablets in their crib. Children that are two years of age and below should not know of the existence of such devices. As they get older, screen time should be limited to one or two hours per day. In addition, anything they watch or play on mobile devices should be supervised. Children that spend too much time in front of screens remain indoors and become lazy. They restrict themselves to the couch, eat more, and become fat.
Outdoor sports and fun activities are necessary for a child’s wellbeing. Anything from football to playing tag is great to promote healthy growth and muscle movement. If your kid is overweight, you must incorporate some sort of exercise in their routine; motivate the child by accompanying him/her in the calorie crushing activity. Putting your child on a restricted weight-loss diet is as bad as medical malpractice, as it may deprive him/her from essential nutrients required for proper physical development.