The statistics are nothing new: I heard about them while growing up here myself. But as a mother, I have to say that it’s more than a little alarming as I see the potential danger obesity has for the children in my community.
We know that childhood obesity causes increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, and that it’s also linked to social and emotional consequences like poverty, bullying and depression.
Thankfully, research is showing that the recent rise in rates of childhood obesity is starting to slow. A new study on obesity among preschoolers in New York and Los Angeles confirms this trend: researchers found a decrease in obesity among 3 and 4 year olds from 2003-2011.
So what’s the secret? Prevention.
Since we know that prevention works, I’ve list 6 time-tested tips for helping prevent obesity in kids, and helping to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Have a tip to add? Share it in the comments.
Make Fitness Fun! 1 of 6There are so many ways to make physical activity fun for kids. Take walks together to the playground. Have a goal of exercising as a family every night. Not matter what you do, always use positive reinforcement to praise your child for making good fitness choices.
Give Your Child Healthy Options 2 of 6Make sure your child has healthy options for snacks. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and talk about the importance of nutrition. Don't use treats to reward good behavior; instead, opt for a fun outing together!
Involve Kids in Food Production 3 of 6Growing a garden is one of the best ways to promote healthy choices. Children will become invested in what they eat if they help produce it themselves. Even if you don't have the space for a large kitchen garden, you can always grow tomato plans or herbs in pots.
Mix it Up! 4 of 6Have fun with food! These fruit shish kabobs are always a hit for a healthy (and simple!) snack. Another great idea is to make a bento box for your child's lunch using fresh, healthy ingredients ( here's how!).
Be a Healthy Role Model 5 of 6Practice what you preach. Kids whose parents engage in healthy behaviors are much more likely to themselves!
Support Healthy Initiatives in Your Community 6 of 6Support activities in your community that help promote a healthy lifestyle. Cheer on runners in charity races. Donate your time to community garden projects. No matter what you do, help be a part of the solution to a problem that affects us all.