With Halloween and other major holidays approaching the time seems right to talk about our children and their diets. The number of overweight children has doubled in the last couple of decades; currently one child in five is overweight, the increase is in both children and adolescents.
Children today spend more time playing video games, watching TV, spending more time on the computer, and eating more fast food. Promoting good health, healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyles within the context of the family are powerful factors in determining how all family members cope with health concerns and challenges.
What can you do?
- Talk to your doctor so that your child’s height and weight ratio body mass index (BMI) can be calculated
- Encourage regular physical activity and good eating habits
- Let your children go shopping with you to help make choices in meal planning
- Set limits on the amount of time children spend playing video games, and watching TV
- Think of activities that encourage movement. Take them outside to play instead of watching TV. The CDC recommends children and adolescents spend at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day (CDC, 2015).
- Allow children to choose activities outside that aren’t too difficult if they are obese
- Eat meals slowly as a family at the table instead of in front of the TV
- Never use food for reward or punishment, or place children on restrictive diets
- Make slow changes in diet and physical activities so that they can develop healthy habits
Be supportive, don’t remind them they’re overweight and provide acceptance and encouragement in both eating habits and activities.