Join the War against Childhood Obesity
Fighting the plague of obesity cannot simply be addressed by personal adherence to diet and exercise alone. The combined efforts of individuals, concerned organizations, and governing bodies are necessary to help our children.
What can parents do to prevent and cure Childhood Obesity?
First of all, take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise and get help if you have an issue with food, such as an Eating disorder or Food Addiction. Remember that you teach by example so how you treat yourself will have the strongest impact on your child’s life. Don’t feel condemned though. Guilt has no real purpose, but taking action and working at your problem will make your child respect you more and encourage him or her to also try.
When it comes to protecting your children, there is nothing more important then making sure that you are educated in just about everything that you can be in regards to the health issues that he or she could face.
A good place to start looking for facts about childhood obesity is from your child’s pediatrician. The pediatrician should be able to give you a lot of valuable information in regards to what obesity does to a child and how you can go about preventing it. If this is not something that your child’s pediatrician automatically brought up with you then it is your job to bring up the topic. Along with the facts about childhood obesity that your child’s pediatrician gives you, you will want to look for more information on top of that. You can certainly never get too much information when it comes to protecting the health and well being of your child.
Searching the web for different websites that offer articles or forums on facts about childhood obesity is a great place to start. Chatting with other parents may also give you a head start in making sure that you are giving your children the best shot at life possible. There are also a lot of different books out there that can be picked up which will give you a lot of facts about childhood obesity. These books can be new or used as long as they come from a reliable source that you can trust and count on. Just start gathering as much information as possible and you will soon see how much you are learning from it all.
On this website I have a lot of helpful information to get you started.
You can also routinely impress on your children’s minds the importance of eating healthy foods and to exercise regularly. Extra attention should be given to foods prepared at home since this is where children consume most of their food and where parents have the greatest influence over their behavior.
For example, parents can exchange fatty cheeseburgers and fries for a bowl of fresh fruits, and cans of sugar-saturated soda for fresh fruit juices.
Other helpful things to do:
Make menus to help you shop for healthy food and cook healthy meals. If you’re tired and you don’t have a menu, it’s so easy to just fall into your back into unhealthy habits.
Plan times to make food together as a family, this makes kids more aware of what healthy food look like.
Plan time to eat dinner together – eat at the dinner table at the same time each day without rushing
Do not allow other activities to intrude with dinnertime
Do not force your child to eat
Use portion control
Avoid using food as a reward or punishment
Limit the use of fast food and prepackaged food
On average, the typical child will spend too much time in front of the television on a daily basis. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should not be watching anymore then two hours of television for the entire day, this is not what is happening in many homes.
TV, computer usage, and video game time (i.e. sedentary lifestyles) can be reduced to a couple of hours per day. Instead, they can be replaced with sports, traditional running games, and other activities that involve physical exertion. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy, but it can be done!
IMPORTANT: Never shame your child into changing her behavior. Positive reinforcement is the only way to go about. Doing things with your child, rather than telling her to do things is the key. Focus on your child’s talents and strong points while nudging her to just do her best in the other areas. Find out how to help your child get active
It is also a fact that diet restriction and physical activity required of children by their parents will not alone decrease childhood obesity; prevention of obesity must also be addressed at the community and national levels.
What can schools do?
They can join efforts of the US Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies to set and enforce nutritional standards for children while they are on their premises. This include monitoring the foods and beverages sold on school property, including either the removal of vending machines or replenishing them with nutritious snacks. Additionally, a program that engages children for 30 minutes of physical activities should become part of the everyday school routine.
There are a lot of children in the schools now that are considered obese by all medical standards. This is a big issue since a lot of these children are eating their breakfast and their lunches at their schools. If two out of the three meals a day is being eaten by a school governed by the state, why are so many children becoming obese? The problem is that there are not enough healthy items placed on the school menus and young children are given way too many options on what they will eat.
While it is nice that the schools are trying to give options for their picky eaters and those with allergies, there has to be a better way to go about it. There are a lot of schools that offer items such as pizza or nachos as a daily choice. These food choices are certainly not healthy and are part of the reason there is a link between childhood obesity and the school lunch. While there may be one healthy choice on the menu, if a child is given the option of pizza or boiled chicken with steamed veggies, which do you think the child is going to pick? Childhood obesity and the school lunch should be looked at a lot closer so that more and more children do not end up with weight problems.
If you find that there may be a link between childhood obesity and the school lunch that is being served to your child on a daily basis, then you should want to do something about it. Sitting silently will do nothing other then allow the problem to continue to grow which is not something that you would want to see happen. Attend your next school board meeting or join the parent’s organization, as there is a lot of avenues that you can use to make sure that your voice are heard loud and clear. If you want there to be a change you are seriously going have to step up and take action.
You cannot wait for someone else to do all of the work for you. If you are expecting your child’s school to be a leader in healthy eating then you need to be a leader and make sure that you voice is heard. After all, the less healthy food choices are always the cheapest ad if there really is no parent around that cares about the link between childhood obesity and the school lunch then why is anyone going to adjust the school budget? Take action and make sure that everyone around you starts to understand that there is a real problem with childhood obesity and the school lunch in your district.
What can the food and beverage industry do?
At a minimum, restaurants can offer healthy food and beverage alternatives on their typically high calorie menus – and even highlight them as such. Every meal offered on that menu could be provided a brief nutritional guide for customer convenience.
And how about government agencies?
The federal government must publicly recognize that obesity is a national problem, just as with smoking cigarettes. It can lead in the implementation of healthy eating. The reduction of childhood obesity is also assisted by policies which help with the alleviation of poverty through self-sufficiency programs that empower financial responsibility rather than ongoing dependence on government for sustenance and a perpetual poverty cycle; poverty and obesity are strongly correlated.
Poor families are prone to bear a disproportionate burden of obesity among children because processed food that contains an inordinate number of empty calories are less expensive than, say, fresh ingredients for a salad. Despite health warnings, the appeal of cheaper food is simply too appealing for most who struggle to pay monthly bills.
Every segment of a culture can participate in the reduction of childhood obesity, from the children themselves through our most revered leaders. Parents can serve as role models in implementing diet restrictions and physical activity for their children, as well as adhering to those same standards for themselves. Schools can provide time for children to engage in physical exercise each day and eliminate the sale of soda and calorie-laden “food” within their facilities. Restaurants can certainly provide healthy meal options and nutritional facts about the foods they serve. And of course, government bodies can lead with policies that reflect a priority toward healthy lifestyles.