There is a silent epidemic spreading throughout America—a quiet conqueror that is infiltrating our homes and affecting our families. More and more American children are falling victim to obesity, now recognized as a serious threat to our nation's health.
What can you do to quell the growing numbers of overweight children? Start teaching proper nutrition in your home. No child is too young to start
Try these easy, family-based tips for stronger, healthier kids and parents:
Five Rules to Live By
- Do plan your meals every week so that you can keep track of what you are eating.
- Do incorporate foods with which the whole family is comfortable. There are healthy alternatives for nearly every kid-favorite food.
- Do eat fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, nuts, and dairy daily. These choices will keep your children full and less likely to turn to foods with empty calories.
- Do involve the whole family in meal planning, exercise, and family outings. The whole family's involvement will ensure success.
- Do get your children to exercise at least three times a week, 60 minutes per day—which can be broken up into six times each day for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Five Things to Avoid
- Don't ever skip a meal. Skipping meals deprives the body of important nutrients and may cause you to over compensate by eating empty calories later.
- Don't completely eliminate the foods children are used to eating. Instead, try to make or find a healthier version (for example, instead of French fries, try sweet potato slices baked in a broiler).
- Don't make deep-fried or fast foods a part of your diet. Replace these with foods that have been sautéed, baked, roasted, broiled, or grilled.
- Don't expect the children to participate in good nutrition and exercise without parents being good role models.
- Don't rely on daycare, gym class, or sports team involvement to teach your kids lifelong exercise habits. Children need to learn to exercise without being a part of a sports team and get into the habit of an exercise routine.