Statistics show that there has been an increase of children in the UK who are either obese or overweight. This presents a serious issue because many health problems can stem from being overweight. Heart disease, diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, bullying, and even shorter life spans are just a few of these issues. The next generation should be encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles so that they can live long, prosper, and make the world a better place.
Some great ways to help children lose weight are to manage their eating habits and encourage physical activity. Any cardio activity that raises the heart rate while the body is in motion is great for weight management. Practicing healthy eating habits and managing portion size are important. Children should be eating home cooked meals composed of lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fast food, which is high in sodium, should be limited. Being sure that children are eating well rounded meals containing lots of fruits and vegetables, limiting sugars and fatty foods, and only serving them enough to sustain them until the next meal is important. Do not let them overeat. Some children eat simply because food is present and they can see it, not necessarily because they need it. Scheduled meal times also help with structure. Routines where children are conditioned to eat at a certain time help to regulate appetites.
Water intake is another important factor. Staying hydrated and cutting out sugar filled beverages helps greatly with overall health, even dental health! Water helps to keep the body flushed out and clean.
The top 10 ways to encourage children to exercise and be healthy are:
- Encourage participation in a sport. Kids love to play team sports like soccer, basketball, football, softball, kickball; especially if their friends are playing too. Other options for kids who may not be interested in team play include karate, gymnastics, tennis, and sports like track and field.
- Limit time spent indoors. Encourage outdoor activities such as hopscotch, jump rope, four square, and hide and go seek.
- Limit time spent on electronics such as video games, cell phones, tablets, TV’s, and computers.
- Be the example, be an active parent! Kids imitate what they see their parent/guardian doing.
- Get out of the house. Have lunch in the park. Placing children in situations where they don’t have the option to not be active.
- Skip the elevators. Instead, encourage kids to take the stairs.
- Have older toddlers/children walk instead of making it easy, going for convenience, and using a stroller.
- Use your pets! Have the kids take the family pet for their walk. Encourage them to play games like fetch and chase with the dog.
- Make chores fun! Mowing the grass, putting things away in the house, vaccuming, dusting, and even washing and putting away dishes or clothes are all activities that keep the body in motion!
- Trade in candy bars for fruits and vegetables when it comes to snack time. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of energy that is a healthier alternative to sugary, fatty foods.