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Prevent Childhood Obesity

About 9 million children over the age of 6 are considered overweight in this country. 

The American obesity epidemic has been passed to our youngest generation.

ImageOverweight children are at far greater risk of developing some chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  In addition to putting their health at risk, overweight children are often subjected to exclusion by their peers, which can affect their emotional well-being.  

 

Teaching kids the importance of eating well and being physically active at a young age is crucial to reversing the trend of childhood obesity in this country.

 

The campaign focuses on the importance of eating healthy and being physically active through several complementary efforts. The “Be a Player” PSAs feature players from the National Football League (NFL), the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and characters from DreamWorks' Shrek.  They encourage children ages 6 to 11 years old to get up and play for at least one hour every day - and demonstrate the fun that they can have doing it.  

 

Children and their families are encouraged to visit www.HealthierUS.gov or www.SmallStep.gov where they can find fun, interactive and beneficial information on healthy eating and physical activity.   
 

How To Prevent Childhood Obesity:

- Eat as a family, paying attention towards eating habits, and dining at home can lower the risk of childhood obesity.

- Try not to eat out.  Make dining out an occasional treat, not an everyday habit.

- Try to spend time with your kids doing outside activities, or playing games that involve exercise (duck duck goose, freeze tag, or the most recent Nintendo WII)

- And most importantly, lead by example.  If your children see you making poor eating decisions, they will too.  Try to be healthy, eat little healthy snacks throughout the day, and exercise portion control.
 

Healthy Eating Habits

 

ImageLess than 25% of adolescents eat the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Few get regular physical activity.

 While mothers and caregivers are aware of the importance of healthy eating and physical activity habits, they struggle with the best way to implement them for their families. With obesity rates rising among children and adults, it’s important to provide information and realistic tips for making and sustaining healthy choices for kids.
 
This Ad Council campaign motivates moms to encourage proper nutrition and physical activity for their families, emphasizing that a bright future starts with a healthy lifestyle. The notion that “Good Nutrition Can Lead to Great Things” reinforces that healthy eating and physical activity are fuel for a kid’s mind and body. The campaign encourages viewers to visit www.MyPyramid.gov and use the USDA’s Food Pyramid as an effective tool to help their children make healthy choices.

The Picky Eaters

As a toddler, your child may start to refuse to eat some foods, become a very picky eater or even go on binges where they will only want to eat a certain food. An important way that children learn to be independent is through establishing independence about feeding. Even though your child may not be eating as well rounded a diet as you would like, as long as your child is growing normally and has a normal energy level, there is probably little to worry about. Remember that early childhood is a period in his development where he is not growing very fast and doesn't need a lot of calories.

 

Also, most children do not eat a balanced diet each and every day, but over the course of a week or so their diet will usually be well balanced. You can consider giving your child a daily vitamin if you think he is not eating well, although he probably doesn't need it.

 

While you should provide three well-balanced meals each day, it is important to keep in mind that most younger children will only eat one or two full meals each day. If you toddler has had a good breakfast and lunch, then it is okay that he doesn't want to eat much at dinner.

 

Although your child will probably be hesitant to try new foods, you should still offer small amounts of them once or twice a week (one tablespoon of green beans, for example). Most children will try a new food after being offered it 10-15 times.

 

Other ways to prevent feeding problems are to not use food as a bribe or reward for desired behaviors, avoid punishing your child for not eating well, limit mealtime conversation to positive and pleasant topics, avoid discussing or commenting on your child's poor eating habits while at the table, limit eating and drinking to the table or high chair, and limit snacks to two nutritious snacks each day.

 

You should also not prepare more than one meal for your child. If he doesn't want to eat what was prepared for the rest of the family, then he should not be forced to, but you should also not give him something else to eat. He will not starve after missing a single meal, and providing alternatives to the prepared meal will just cause more problems later.

Information from www.keepkidshealthy.com.