Studies suggest that 1 in 3 children and teenagers is either overweight or obesity. Obese kids are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death later on in life. On top of that, many obese kids suffer through low self-esteem, depression, and negative body image.
Many factors contribute to the increased rates of obese children in the U.S. Kids are bombarded with ads for high fat, high sugar foods. They have easy, round-the-clock access to these foods and eat bigger portions of them. Healthier alternatives to unhealthy foods aren’t as readily available and often aren’t affordable. Today’s children also spend much more time watching TV or playing video games and less time being physically active.
So, logically, the next question is what can we do to turn things around? How can we help reverse the childhood obesity trend? There isn’t a magic bullet that we can use to kill the obesity werewolf, but here are a few ideas that might help:
- Replace sugary snacks with dried fruit and other sweet, healthy treats.
- Get kids to spend at least 60 minutes doing something physically active.
- Limit time kids have access to TV, computers, video games, and other sedentary activities that encourage consumption of unhealthy junk food.
- Serve more ice water and fewer sodas.
- Be a healthy role model. Kids will be more likely to make smart food choices if they see you doing it.
- Limit fast food intake to no more than once a week.