The CDC estimates that from 2017-2018, 14.4 million children and adolescents between the ages 2-19 were affected by obesity. Since the start of the pandemic, the CDC is estimating that this number is continuing to grow. It is important to create healthy habits now to combat childhood obesity and lead to a healthier adulthood. Below are just a few changes that your children can make to become healthier and remember that children are more likely to practice habits that you practice, so try to make these FAMILY changes.
Develop healthy eating habits
Developing healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be hard and can actually become fun for children. You can create reward based tasks for the day like how much water they should drink, or things like meatless Monday where you eat a vegetarian meal for the day. Small changes everyday can lead to huge changes overall.
Keep nutritious food visible
Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind, Right? Reduce the amount of readily available high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks in your home. These foods should be available as special treats for your children on occasion, instead promote snacks like fruits and vegetables daily.
Help children stay active
Not only is it important to reduce sedentary time (time seated) for children, it is equally as important that they get up and moving. The CDC recommends that children do physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day. Not only is this fun for children, it has a plethora of health benefits including; strengthening bones, decreasing blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing self-esteem, and helping with weight management. For more ideas to get children active go to Help your kids get more physical activity – Move Your Way | health.gov
Ensure adequate sleep
Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep can lead to obesity by making us eat more and be less physically active as well as leading to other detrimental effects. If you are unsure about the amount of sleep your child should get, you can find that information at https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/features/getting-enough-sleep.html
DO NOT put children on diets
Unless your child’s doctor has recommended it, do not put them on a diet. Children are actively growing bigger by the day and because of this, diets can actually be detrimental to them. A restrictive diet may not supply your child the energy and nutrients needed for normal growth and development.
Remember it is important to contact your child’s doctor or pediatrician with any questions you might have about your child’s health. If your child does not have a pediatrician, give us a call at 412-661-2802 to get them scheduled for an appointment with one of our providers.
ELFHCC understands that there are many cultural differences in our patients and therefore it is likely that some of these tips may not be applicable to you or your children. You should always work with your child’s doctor to create a system and habits that works for you and your family.