Important Steps to Prevent Childhood Obesity

You may have heard about childhood obesity and have some concern about your own children. If they do not have a weight problem now, that is good news. But, you can be proactive to prevent obesity from ever happening in your family.

Children are impressionable. They learn most of their habits from their parents. This is the time to take your kids under your wing and teach them healthy habits that will help them throughout their lifetime. As they get older (into their teens) their attention will shift from you to their friends. If a life of healthy eating and exercise are already instilled, you have a better chance of them sticking to those good habits.

Start Early to Prevent Obesity in Your Children

It is never too early to instill healthy habits. In some studies, children who were breastfed tended to maintain a normal weight more so than children who were bottle fed. One reason could be because of our desire to get our babies fed well and sleeping through the night, resulting sometimes in overfeeding, something that the breast naturally curtails. If you are bottle feeding, resist the urge to add cereal flakes when your baby is crying late at night. I know the impulse is to get the baby to sleep longer, and it makes sense that if their tummy is full they will sleep. However, your baby could be getting way too many calories.

Some parents are in a rush to introduce solid foods to their baby. Following most guidelines, including your doctor’s, your child will probably be fine without solid foods as late as nine or ten months of age. It doesn’t hurt to hold out as long as possible if that’s what you and your doctor decide. A child’s digestion and fat burning capabilities are built for your milk for a long, long time. So, don’t rush a solid diet.

Eating Natural Will Help Prevent Obesity

The healthiest foods are on the perimeter of the grocery store. There you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy, meat, fish, and eggs. Those prepackaged, premade foods and mixes in the center of the store are loaded with additives like sugars, salt, and fats.

Introduce a new fruit or vegetable each week to your child. Let them get the natural taste of food without adding any condiments. We often forget as parents that condiments are there to suit our tastes. Children don’t feel that a food is bland without condiments because they have never tasted the food. They may like it that way.

Offer healthy snacks. It may be easier at first to grab a prepackaged snack like pudding packs or individual cookies. But, once you get a routine of providing healthy snacks, you’ll have those little bags of apple pieces available. Even some unsweetened Cheerios are a better choice than those snacks marketed for little hands. Just throw a few Cheerios and raisins in a small ziplock bag and your little one will be thrilled.

Teach Children About Healthy Stress Relief

Even little ones need to learn coping mechanisms. Teach them how to deal with difficult situations so they can use those skills as they get older. This goes well for you, too. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips when you are stressed, show them that you have good coping skills as well. Use your stressed-out energy to chop up some celery and carrots or go outside and hop on your bike. Do a little kick boxing or somersaults. Your kids will see you burning off your frustrations in healthy ways and will naturally want to join you. Be an example for your kids of the right way to fight stress and burn energy.

It is never too early to start when it comes to preventing childhood obesity. Start today and use these simple strategies to ensure that your family will get healthy and stay healthy and avoid the specter of childhood obesity from every haunting your doorstep.



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