Thursday, August 30, 2007

How To Prevent Childhood Obesity

by George Godoy

Childhood obesity is the result of an interaction between food, state of mind, family and the environment. One of the problems is the sedentary life that many children lead, playing computer and video games or watching television instead of being physically active. The greatest problem causing childhood obesity is the foods that make up their diet.

Foods

Unfortunately, many TV commercials tout foods that can be best classified as unhealthy. Children crave what they see on TV and in movie theaters and they may not realize what these foods will do to their bodies. A typical fast food meal has an energy density 150% more than an average traditional meal. An interesting fact states that children who ate fast food at least twice a week and gained ten pounds were more likely to develop diabetes. Fast foods are not considered part of a healthy eating pattern, even though some fast-food franchises have been introducing fruits, salads, and bottled water for healthier choices.

Parents

Many parents struggle to know which foods are healthy for their children. When parents did select healthy foods, 65% said they struggled to motivate their children to eat it. Instead of focusing on a diet for one child in the family, focus on improving the health of all family members by removing junk foods from the home, and preparing or purchasing meals that are low in fat and sugar.

Activity

It's a vicious-circle kind of problem. But something must be done to ensure physical activity is a part of every child's life. Studies have shown that increasing your exercise level, working up to 30 minutes a day, or having some form of moderate activity will bring good results. Ask for support from friends and family; likewise, support the people in your life who are trying to be physically active. The trends indicating increased death risk due to poor diet, weight gain/obesity, and little or no physical activity are going up due to changes in our environment. The bottom line is this - children look for role models. If they see the adults that influence their lives exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, they will be more apt to do those things as well. Participating in fun family activities could include a walk, a bike ride, playing at the playground and shooting hoops on the basketball court.

The solution to the childhood obesity epidemic is not an easy one, nor will it be solved overnight. Parents, schools, support organizations and government agencies all need to work together to combat this problem.

About the Author
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How To Prevent Childhood Obesity

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