Everyone has heard about the increasing rate of obesity, not only in the U.S., but around the world. Unfortunately, this epidemic is not just affecting adults. More and more children are struggling with the adverse effects of childhood obesity which has led to an increase in bariatric surgeries and other drastic measures, as these youngsters get older. Fortunately, there are things we can do to help prevent this sad situation.
There are a lot of reasons why childhood obesity is on the rise and tackling these issues have become an ongoing dilemma for many families. For one thing, many families are finding that they need both parents in the workforce just to make ends meet. Adding to this lack of parental supervision is the growing number of households that consist of only a single parent. When parents are working, children often come home after school and need to get their own snack. What they choose can be crucial in determining whether they are able to maintain a proper body weight.
Another factor that often comes into play is the economic struggles many people are facing. When money is tight, the food budget often suffers. Anyone who spends time in a grocery store quickly comes to realize that fresh produce and healthy snacks are a lot more expensive than the junk food and convenience items. Additionally, fast food has become the norm for many families because they are always overwhelmed with so many responsibilities that they seem to lack the time to prepare a nutritious and healthy meal at home.
As children become more sedentary, they also burn fewer calories which means that they begin to gain weight. There was a time when children could run free and engage in all types of activity and imaginative play; however, today’s society is such that young children must be supervised when outside of the home. With parents busy at work, children often resort to television and video games as a means of entertainment.
While there are many factors that we cannot control, such as the dangers lurking in our own neighborhoods. There are some important things we can control and that can help our children remain healthy and fit. One of the most important things we can give our children to prevent the onset of childhood obesity is a healthy diet. They need to learn which foods are good for them, how to make good choices and of course, these healthy foods need to be made available to them.
When looking for healthy diet tips to help keep your children from gaining excess weight, you need to think about the nutritional needs of the child. Young children need fuel and most everyone who has ever had a teenager knows they seem to always be hungry. Meeting their needs for high-quality, low-fat food is essential.
One area where parents can make a big difference is to think about the types of beverages their children tend to drink. Soda, sports drinks and sweetened beverages are loaded with sugar and other ingredients that can quickly cause weight gain. In fact, high fructose corn syrup has been linked to an increase in belly fat. Sports beverages are fine for the athlete who needs to replenish their electrolytes and remain hydrated, but are not beneficial to a child watching television. Children should be taught to drink plenty of water, not only will it help keep them hydrated and feeling satiated, but experts agree that thirst is often mistaken for a feeling of hunger. This, of course, causes the child to eat more than they actually need.
While produce can be expensive, it is also an important part of a healthy diet aimed at reducing weight problems. Today’s children often do not get anywhere near the number of servings of fruits and vegetables that they need. You can shop local farmers markets for some great prices on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Prepare the items so that they are ready to eat. Cut carrots, broccoli and other vegetables and keep them in a container in the refrigerator. When the kids want a snack, they can easily grab some children healthy alternatives to high-fat donuts and snack foods.