Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that thirteen percent of the children in the United States are clinically obese. The sad fact, besides the health risks it poses to the children now, is that children who deal with childhood obesity often grow up to be obese adults. The behavior patterns they learn as children follow them into adulthood. There are several steps that can and should be taken to combat the problem of childhood obesity.
What To Do At Home
The fact remains that it is a child’s parents are the number one factor that help influence whether or not he will suffer from childhood obesity. There are many steps that families with an overweight child can do to easily help the problem.
Parents need to make it their goal to teach their children life long healthy behaviors. The most important behaviors that affect childhood obesity, of course, are eating and activity behaviors. Children who are fed healthy food at an early age have a better likelihood of developing a taste for it.
This can be a challenge, though, because many of the snack foods marketed to children are actually increasing the rate of childhood obesity, because they are loaded with simple sugars and fats. Try to teach your children to snack on fruit and vegetables, or granola bars with whole grains. These are the best foods for them to learn to like.
Next, teach your entire family to be involved in physical activity, daily if possible. Today’s children enjoy a sedentary lifestyle, including video games, television, movies, and the Internet. While there is nothing wrong with these activities, they need to be used in conjunction with plenty of running and playing, outdoors if possible.
Getting Involved At School
Another way to combat childhood obesity is through the school system. Schools should examine their hot lunch menu, and make sure they are serving good, wholesome foods, not fried, fatty foods. Also, children need to be involved in physical activity throughout the school day. Recess is vital to this, and should not be skipped. On the upper levels, children can participate in physical education classes and extracurricular sports. Parents who are concerned about the emphasis in their children’s schools should talk to the administration and school board.
Children should also be taught as a part of their education what causes childhood obesity, and what they can do to fight it. By giving children the tools they need to life a healthy life, you are arming them to meet the challenges they will face as adults. Health education is another step in fighting childhood obesity, and should not be ignored in the schools.