Help! My Kids are Overweight!
If you have recently found yourself fretting over your child’s waistline, you are not alone. The youth of today are fatter than ever before, and parents are starting to panic. Why are our kids so big, and what should we do about it?
Childhood obesity has been described as an epidemic. It puts our children’s health at risk, making them more susceptible to problems involving their cardiovascular systems, endocrine systems, and even their mental health. Type 2 diabetes mellitus, depression, and low self-esteem are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems looming over the heads of our overweight children.
It is ironic that both the problem and the solution to this heavy problem boil down to one simple equation. Energy In vs. Energy Out. When more energy is consumed than is utilized, the result is fat storage. In short, our kids eat too much and do too little.
The Problem: Parents today are busier than ever before, navigating through hectic schedules with convenient fast food restaurants lurking on every corner. Our kids are eating more fried, processed, and sugary foods than we did as children due mainly to the convenience factor. These foods are laden with excessive calories that result in weight gain.
The Solution: Take time to evaluate your children’s diet. Do they eat three balanced meals a day? Do they eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Are they limited in their servings of fried, processed, and sugary foods? Avoid buying sugar-filled snacks while grocery shopping, fill your cart with fresh, healthy snacks instead. Make time to plan family meals so that you don’t find yourself in another drive thru.
The Problem: Computers, video games, and satellite T.V. are our children’s latest and greatest toys. Who has time to play outside when you are about to beat the hardest level, or your favorite show is about to start? Our kids participate in less physical activity and are more sedentary than any generation before.
The Solution: Limit the time your children spend on sedentary activities, such as T.V and video games. Sign your kids up on a local sports team so that they can run and be active with other kids. Take the whole family to the park on a weekend instead of gathering in front of the T.V.
As a parent, it is your unique responsibility to teach your children the healthy habits that lead to good health. Children who are obese have a greater chance of remaining obese into adulthood, thus greatly increasing the likelihood of serious health problems. Talk to your children about their eating habits, and activity levels, informing them of good choices versus bad choices. Make it a family effort to start eating healthier and increase physical activities, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results!
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