Obesity is a major problem in the United States. We have become a nation of fast food eaters, who’d rather sit on the couch and watch television rather than do something active outside. Our sedentary lifestyle has a created a growing number of overweight individuals who are at risk for a variety of health issues. But the main problem is that these same individuals pass on their unhealthy habits to their kids. Now, we have a childhood obesity epidemic on our hands. But all is not lost. There are ways to prevent childhood obesity, and to teach your child how to eat right and stay active. We need to educate upcoming generations on the importance of good health, so that they can pass on the information to their own children someday.
According to the Center of Disease Control, childhood obesity has nearly tripled within the past 30 years. There is no time to waste. It is up to us reverse the trend and teach our children everything they need to know about getting healthy. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Turn off the television. One of the main reasons why there is such a high rate of childhood obesity is because of reduced activity. Kids spend more time inside sitting in front of the television than do outside running and playing. You can address this issue by reducing the amount of time your child spends watching television. Give them a gentle push out the door so that they can experience nature and use their imaginations instead.
2. Don’t buy video games. Much like television, video and computer games keep kids from being active. Sitting in front of a video game for two to three hours isn’t healthy for the body or the mind. The best defense against video games is to not buy them at all. Have family game nights instead, or encourage your kids to play board games. Again, it’s better for them to be outside playing than it is to be sitting in front of a video game.
3. Limit fast food. It’s understandable why fast food is so appealing to parents — it’s fast, inexpensive and easy. But it’s also incredibly unhealthy. Hitting the drive-thru once and awhile is fine, and sometime it’s necessary. But feeding your kids fast food two or three times per week is a recipe for disaster. If you have a busy weekly schedule, make healthy premade meals in advance so that you can heat them up for your kids instead of handing them a cheeseburger and fries.
4. Eat healthy as a family. The best thing you can do as a parent is lead by example. Make your transition to eating healthy and getting fit into a family goal. You can’t preach healthy eating and exercise if your kids see you snuggling up to a bowl of ice cream every night on the couch. Make healthy dinners together and go for long walks in the park instead. Getting healthy can be a fun family affair, and everyone will enjoy the positive results together.