Childhood Obesity – Three Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Risk

Obesity is not just an adult problem, it’s a kid problem as well. Along with the extra weight many children are carrying around comes the weight-related health issues. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems are showing up in children due to them being overweight. To combat childhood obesity and the related health issues, the plan is the same as with adult obesity – diet and exercise. Children need adult help and the biggest changes to combat childhood obesity start at home. Here are three ways to reduce your child’s risk of childhood obesity at home.

Have Sit Down Family Meals At Home

Sitting down at the dinner table and eating together as a family sets a good eating example for children. Studies have shown that children who regularly eat at home with their families eat more fresh fruit and vegetables than their peers who do not enjoy sit down family meals. Sitting down together for meals allows parents to model healthy eating habits in front of their children and also allows for early intervention when an eating problem is spotted.

Limit Television Time for Children

All those hours of television watching a toddler does really adds up, as evidenced by body weight and activity level. Research has shown that the more time a child spends in front of the television, the more they weigh and the less active they become. Food commercials are the culprit, enticing children (and adults) to frequently grab a fat laden snack greatly increases the risk of childhood obesity. Limit the amount of time your child spends in front of the television and remove television sets from their bedrooms (children who have TV’s in their bedrooms watch more TV than children who do not have a TV in their room). Use the extra time to get them involved in physical activity, such as walking together as a family.

Ensure Children are Getting Enough Sleep

Parents try to burn the candle at both ends and often over schedule children’s activities, causing sleep deficits for young and old. However, not getting enough sleep places a child at a much higher risk for becoming obese. To reduce the risk of childhood obesity (and improve overall health of the child) scrutinize the child’s schedule and sleep habits. Eliminate any activities that are cutting into your child’s sleep time and set a regular bedtime for children. Allowing children to sleep late on weekend mornings will helps make up for any sleep deficit they may have accrued during the week, but a regular sleep pattern of 8-10 hours each night works best to reduce the risk of childhood obesity.