How to control child obesity?
Created by Ridhi Doomra Updated on Jul 07, 2017
Tasty treats, fast food, junk food –they’re everywhere we look! Your child just wait for the smallest excuse to indulge – be it a trip to the mall or the weekends. It is easy to give in to their demands, and let your child’s eating habits slide, but being careful and making healthy eating and exercise a regular habit can help keep your child healthy and fit for life. Here are 4strategies to prevent child obesity and help keep your child happy and healthy -
1) Be observant
Keep a close watch on your child’s food intake and daily diet. It should include healthy and nutritious food. Junk food and high calorie oily & fatty food should be avoided completely. Once in a whilea treat is alright, but eating these foods should not become a regular habit. As parents we are aware of which foods are good for our child, and which foods are not only unhealthy but can become an addictionfor them. Try to create awareness among your children about the benefits of good eating habits and set an example by following it yourself. Children follow their parents and family, so be a positive role model.
2) Say NO to unhealthy substitutes
Parents often substitute foods for children who are fussy eaters, and feel happy that s/he is eating something, however unhealthy it may be! Some examples of unhealthy substitute foods are chocolates, chips, candies, soft drinks, packaged fruit juices, pizzas, burgers, etc. which are easy to get and habit forming for them. We think that as parents we always know what is best, and are satisfied that our little one is eating something, even though it may not be healthy home cooked meals. Why do we forget that our little ones are smarter than us? When they see that we are substituting the regular homemade healthy food with unhealthy high-calorie and high-sugar foods which taste great, children throw tantrums and sulk until we give in to their demands, forgoing the healthier homemade food for the unhealthy substitutes – this leads to our children forming a negative habitual pattern. Unhealthy eating habits lead directly to obesity. Children who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing serious health problems such as type-2diabetes and high blood pressure
- Try to inculcate good eating habits and encourage your child to eat the same food as the whole family. You could also make some of their favourite treats at home occasionally– try homemade chocolate with raw organic cocoa and jaggery/gud, pizzas with a homemade whole wheat base, air frying instead of deep frying, frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, etc. You could also make these treats together once your child is old enough to help in the kitchen!
3) Limit screen time
In the evenings, over the weekend or during vacations, children spend the majority of their time watching TV, or with electronic gadgets. This restricts their physical activity and social interaction. Moreover, watching screens while eating leads to them overeating, and this if unchecked, ultimately results into obesity. As a parent our responsibility is to limit their screen time and be a role model by not indulging in any gadgets. Try to spend your spare time engaged in meaningful conversation or play some indoor or outdoor games, or some fun dancing & singing games. You could even go on for a stroll or a swim with your children and spend some quality family time together.
4) Get physical!
Physical activity helps in reducing extra fat or calories stored in the body, decreasing the chances of being overweight. From the early months onwards, once your baby starts to crawl, give them enough play area and time, so that they can play safely anywhere in the home. As children start walking or running, encourage outdoor play activities and they will definitely enjoy going to the park or playground. There are a range of mobile toys available in the markets which help in physical activity like cycles, roller skates, skateboards, scooters, swing cars, baby walkers etc. Encouraging your child to practice any form of martial arts or yoga from their early years, would teach them self-discipline and patience while keeping them fit!
So, from an early age itself parents should start inculcating the habit of any kind of regular physical activity so that children can develop a gradual interest in it themselves as they grow. Let’s make it a point to encourage more physical activity, less screen time, and say a BIG NO to high-calorie and high-sugar foods - and your child will be set on their path to good health and no fat!
Did you find Ridhi’s tips on preventing child obesity useful? How do you keep your child fit and healthy? Do share your experiences and learning with us in the comments section below. We love hearing from you!