The risk of childhood obesity is becoming more and more common every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the percentage of children affected by obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s, and the factors that contribute to childhood obesity are genetics, metabolism, environment, sleep duration, and eating and physical activity behaviors.
They key to combat the risk of childhood obesity is balance. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents need to maintain calorie balance to support normal growth and development without promoting excess weight gain. These are some ways parents can help balance their child’s diet and reduce the risk of their child becoming obese.
Healthy eating is a recipe for success
The American Heart Institute recommends parents encourage healthy eating habits to control what goes into you child’s body. Some ways to do this are by feeding your child vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products; including low-fat or non-fat dairy products; choosing proteins like lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans; limiting sugar, sodium and saturated fats; and drinking lots of water. Another thing to remember is that portions matter, so serve your children reasonable amounts.
Stay active by implementing physical activity
There are countless health benefits to physical activities. According to the American Heart Institute, 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities almost every day help strengthen bones, decrease blood pressure, reduce levels of stress and anxiety, help manage your weight, and even increase self-esteem. And the best part is it is easy to implement these activities, like dance, soccer and swimming, into your daily routine. Who knew playing tag could be so healthy?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should limit screen time to no more than two hours a day. The benefits of this are two-fold: they will encourage your kids to participate in more outdoor activities while also interacting with others, which can develop their social skills.