Obesity is a growing concern not only in the United States and most other developed countries. Obesity is primarily due to the unhealthy eating habits of people who live in a world that is trying so fast to catch up with itself. Children and teens emulate what the they see happening in their environment, and the result is an increase in teen and childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity has varying effects, and not just on the physical but also on the mental health of the child. Asthma, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common ailments but not the only ones a child can have; he can also suffer from depression because of the pressure and discrimination he experiences everyday from peers and loved ones alike.
As parents, it is left to us to stop childhood obesity from taking root. Below are 10 ways that we can go about it:
1. Set a good example. Practice what you preach, and eat right too. The last thing your child needs is confusion.
2. Never use food as a bribe or reward. He will only be encouraged to do more good for the sake of a treat, but not teach him the value of good work as an achievement in itself.
3. Keep your child away from junk food at an early age. Your child’s taste buds will adapt easily, and make him crave for more.
4. Avoid storing sweets or chocolates in the house. This will only give your child the impression that they are always within reach.
5. Make healthy meals look more attractive or appealing by adding variety. Vegetables look better when prepared artfully, enough to pique your child’s interest.
6. Choose your child’s food wisely when eating at a fast food restaurant. It may not be as nutritious as you want, but at least you’re confident he’s not getting junk.
7. Encourage your child to drink lots of water. Given enough time, this will turn into a good habit.
8. Get your child to engage in sports, exercise or any worthwhile physical activity. A child who has started a healthy lifestyle early in life is less likely to become obese later on.
9. Give lots of encouragement, and teach him to value himself as a person. Children with a strong positive self-image are less likely to fall into depression and get into eating binges.
10. Work with health officials and school faculty to promote healthy eating. Health education does not end at home, after all.