children exercising and preventing childhood obesity

5 Great Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity

As a parent, you want to see children grow up healthy. Unfortunately, childhood obesity is keeping kids from entering adulthood with a strong health foundation. According to the CDC, 21% of kids 9-19 years old are obese in the United States as of 2012. Following these five tips will help you combat childhood obesity in your family.

  1. Promote healthy eating habits by embodying them. Kids emulate their role models. Moreover, your kid is not going to be eating unhealthy food at the dinner table if you do not put it there. Parents are in control of their family's diet.
  2. Get active with your kids. The tough part is enforcing physical activity whether they like it or not. When given a choice, children will often pick television or games over a hike in the woods. Only their guardians can make them see the benefits of choosing physical activity when the weather warrants it. Start exercising together early and make it fun; don't make weight the sole reason for it.
  3. You may have been raised to eat everything that is put on your plate, but if a child simply does not want to eat his or her vegetables, offer smaller portions. If kids are still hungry, they can get seconds. There is no reason to force consumption of a food, short of a medical problem. Kids have a biological initiative to eat as much as they need, just as you do.
  4. If a child's school is not providing a healthy lunch, pack lunch for your kids. A packed lunch gives you more control over what your child eats during the day.
  5. Food is not a tool for discipline. Sweets are not a good way to reward a child for good behavior, and withholding them for bad behavior is even worse. Food should be treated as what it is: fuel for a healthy body.
Last Updated: August 26, 2015