With so much attention being put on obesity and healthy living, we cannot but mention childhood obesity which is increasing at alarming pace. Reports show that number of obese children almost tripled in the last decade. And aside from genetic inheritance, unhealthy diet low in nutrition and poor eating habits are emphasized as the main causes of obesity in children. However, poor or no physical activity plays an important role in proper body function and is probably one of the major causes of overweight and obesity. It’s indisputable that kids nowadays spend less time playing outside than they did in past. Main reasons for such situation are busy parents, computers and video games, 24/7 cartoon TV channels and long commutes to school, kindergarten, playgrounds, parks, etc. which is why kids walk less. But what can you as a parent do to prevent your kid from becoming obese?
Eat Healthy – Healthy and balanced diet is important for proper body functioning. This is especially true for children as they need nutrients and vitamins for proper brain and body development. This is why it is important for your kid to eat fruits, vegetables, proteins on a daily basis. If possible and if your budget allows it, go with organic food as it has no preservatives added. Try to serve fish at least twice a week and avoid fats and sweets as much as possible. Also, try to eat together as a family as often as possible and not just on weekends.
Change Eating Habits – First and foremost, change your own eating habits. You cannot preach about healthy eating habits to your kid if you yourself do not follow them. So, if you skip breakfast and usually have a cup of coffee in the morning, you surely have bad eating habits. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s a smart thing to start your and your kid’s day with a bowl of cereal, vegetable omelet and a piece of fruit. Avoid eating late at night or while doing some other activity such as watching TV, reading, playing with your kid, etc. Remember, you are your kid’s biggest inspiration and role model therefore make sure your kid picks up only good habits from you. Avoid food binging (unless you devour on carrot or celery sticks); do not skip meals; eat slower; and substitute chocolate and cookies with fruits.
Increase Physical Activity – It is very important for your kid to be physically active. If you cannot spare hour or two for playing ball in the park, than why not have some fun time with your kid in your backyard. There are many portable basketball hoops and other outdoor equipment you can easily assemble on your own. Search online for swings, slides, cubby house Australia, etc. and enjoy the time you spend with your kid. Of course, you can always make football, rope jumping, hula hooping and other outdoor activities even more special if you maybe dress in your kid’s favorite cartoon character or if there’s a prize involved.
Arrange Frequent Play Dates – And even though many believe kids prefer computers and TVs over playing, recent reports show the opposite. Over 85% of children would rather spend time playing with friends and parents than watching cartoons or playing video games. Therefore, arrange frequent play dates with your kid’s friends. Not only will your kid have fun, but will also practice his/her learning, reasoning and social skills. You can make play dates even more fun by inviting other moms to join so you can all have some fun quality time together. Organize a sport tournament, theatrical show or pretend play games. You can even organize a little cookie contest where moms and daughters can compete against each others. You princess and her girlfriends will surely have lots of fun playing little chefs on her childrens play kitchen. The most important thing is to make it fun for them. Thus, be creative.