Obesity is an epidemic striking all social levels as well as age groups, including children. Obesity can come from severe health complications, such as strokes or heart attacks, diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Obesity affects on a larger scale because the weight-related health problems may stack up soaring bills.
It is worrying that today the rate of child obesity keeps rising worldwide. Approximately 43 million of preschool children across the world in 2010 were overweight or obese. In addition to this, the life experiences of the children, such as too-little sleep, lack of breastfeeding, and too-much television may lead to the increased risk of obesity later in their life. For that reason, early child care providers should play role in avoiding the obesity epidemic.
Early childhood is a cruel period for obesity prevention. During this period children are establishing taste preferences, learning to speak and walk, and enthusiastically mimicking both healthy and unhealthy habits of people around them particularly their caregivers. Although there are many factors that play a main role in causing childhood obesity, including genetics, there are ways you can help to improve this situation.
1. Avoid large serving portions as often served by restaurants since these very contribute to childhood obesity. Provide your children with the right amount of home-made meals that are usually healthier than restaurant foods and avoid giving them sugary drinks. Instead, support your children to consume more water or organic juices.
2. Teach your children to have a positive self-image. You should focus on the positive sides of the child, not the negative ones. It was found that children having poor self images are more likely to develop obesity.
3. Avoid awarding children with sweets. You should find better ways to reward your children for good behavior. Several healthier ideas to do so include taking them to have a trip, to see their favorite movie, to watch sports team, or to buy a new book.
4. Encourage children to involve actively in various school and recreational activities. It is mandatory to begin school activities earlier including swimming, baseball, basketball, or softball if possible.
5. Restrict the time quantity spent by your children for playing video games, watching television, or surfing the web. An hour or less per day is enough to do all these things. Allow your children's free time more for doing healthy activities such as assisting with household chore or playing outside and bicycling with their friends.
6. Support the school food programs, so your children can have healthier meal options. For example, you can suggest the school administrators to buy healthy vending machines carrying only water, healthy snacks, fruit juices, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
7. Develop healthy daily meal and snack times. It is important to make a wide variety of healthy foods available based on the rule from the Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children.
8. Practice a healthy lifestyle. If you want to encourage your child to have a healthy diet and be active, then you should give the same example. Remember that kids tend to learn all behaviors from their parents including the healthy ones.
After all, for most children, childhood obesity is the result of too many food calories and too little physical activity. As these habits develop in early childhood, the attempts to prevent obesity in children should start early. However, for most very young children, your concentration is to keep their current weight, while the little kids can grow normally in height.