With the growing trend of childhood obesity do you find yourself wondering if there is any way to prevent our children from getting overweight? You may be surprised to know that there are some things we can do as parents and caregivers to help our children not to become another overweight kid.
Childhood obesity starts at an early age. In fact it starts from the moment the child is born and takes its first drink of milk.
Breast feeding and bottle feeding: when an infant breast feeds it is easier for them to know when they are full. Breast milk starts off thick and rich when the baby begins to feed and then changes to a more watery substance as the child gets full. This change encourages the child to stop drinking as it does not taste as good. In turn this will help to encourage a baby’s instincts to know when they are full.
Bottle formula on the other hand does not have this capacity and the baby must rely on their instincts to know when they are full. When Mothers feed their babies by bottles many of them just prop the bottle up in the pram or baby seat and the baby does not have much choice to stop when they are full. This will prevent the baby from relying on its instincts to tell them when it is full and they can grow up in life not really sure if they are full or not. The result is often over indulgence and weight gain.
Bottles are often used as comforters in babies. Whenever the child cries the bottle is popped into their mouth. Babies cry for a number of reasons and not just because of hunger. This will make a child associate food with comfort and can lead to them eating when they are upset.
Eating habits when a child is young: Young children do need to eat little and often because of the high energy levels at this age. However you should be careful of how and when they eat. Try to feed them at regular times. This is the age when fast food is introduced; try to make healthy choices instead of relying on the usual burger and fries.
After school snacks: try to provide healthy snacks and water instead of junk food and soda. Junk food can become a lifelong habit which leads to weight gain. If you start early with healthy food and snacks you will instill good eating habits into your children that will carry them forward into a healthy life.
Above all lead by example: you cannot expect your child to have good eating habits and eat healthy if you do not do this. Try to practice good eating yourself and encourage the rest of the family to do the same. Children look up to their parents and family and will follow their example.
Exercise: Remember to try to involve the whole family in daily exercise and encourage your child to play outdoors when the weather permits. Family games and activities will help them to do this.
As you see you can do quite a bit to prevent your child from becoming obese and you owe it to your child to help them keep healthy and happy.