According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.5 million children between the ages 2-19 are obese. If you are a parent, these number are frightening. Childhood obesity is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and emotional pain.
How can a parent help a child ward off obesity? Here are a few simple tips:
Make it a family affair. Even if the rest of the family is healthy, all family members must be on board. If
the child feels isolated and is the only one who has to exercise or eat differently, it will only add to their low self-esteem. Talk about “family goals” and how to implement them. This includes diet and exercise.
Associate food with fuel. Teach your child that food is fuel for their body. The better they eat, the better their bodies will work and they will be able to do more fun things.
Make if fun! Changing a lifestyle into a healthier one isn’t always easy or fun to say the least, but in order for it to resonate with children, it must be fun. Can you make exercise into a game?
Give choices. It’s easy to start patrolling your child’s food or exercise choices. Give your child some measure of freedom. You can do this by giving them choices. For example, they need to exercise. Ask them if they would like to go for a walk or ride their bike. Exercise is not an option, but what they do for exercise can be.