Helping Your Child Reach a Healthy Weight
With over one-third of all American children and adolescents considered overweight or obese, it’s time to make some changes. It doesn’t have to be complicated to help your child reach a healthy weight. You can incorporate fun activities into your daily life to get your child more active. This can include things like taking a family walk, doing activities during commercials while watching TV, and planning family fun days.
Identifying the ProblemChildhood obesity is a growing -- and quite serious -- epidemic in the United States. Kids are spending more and more time in front of computers, gaming consoles, and cell phones (7.5 hours a day, to be exact!) and less time outside. Add in the fact that many Americans today eat a diet that is high in calories, fats, sugars, and salts rather than a diet that is focused on fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, and is it any wonder that in 2010 more than one-third of all children and adolescents in this country were considered overweight or obese?
This problem cannot be overstated. Childhood obesity can lead to serious, long-term complications as an adult, such as:
So what's the solution? Well, simple lifestyle changes can help. This article will focus on the physical things you and your children can do together to get moving and drop that excess weight. The tips you find here are easy, don't require a lot of fancy equipment, and can have the added benefit of bringing you closer together as a family.
A good goal is to aim for 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity at least five days a week. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take a walk. Explore your neighborhood! This could be something you do after dinner or after school. And you don't have to walk for 60 minutes straight. Try just a 10-minute walk to start with and gradually add distance -- and hills!
If you live in an area where you don't feel safe walking, no problem! Many schools have athletic fields with tracks that you can walk around. Malls are a good place to walk too. Need an added incentive? Get a pedometer, which keeps track of how many steps you take in a day. Have a contest to see which family member can take the most steps in a day or even a week. The winner gets to pick the next outing for the family. Which brings us to our next tip….